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Patch 8.1: Elemental Shaman Changes

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Update: Blizzard have added two more new talents to the changes coming to the PTR:

Blizzard LogoElemental Shaman Talents (source)

Just as a quick update, here's the current version of the experimental new talents that will be hitting the PTR soon. Reminder that these are experimental, the PTR is for testing, we'll probably iterate on or completely replace these designs, etc.

Call the Thunder - Your maximum Maelstrom is increased by 30, and the Maelstrom cost of Earth ShockEarth Shock and EarthquakeEarthquake is reduced by 10.

Surge of Power - Earth Shock also enhances your next spell:

  • Flame ShockFlame Shock: The next cast does not incur a cooldown.
  • Lightning BoltLightning Bolt: Your next 3 casts will cause an additional Elemental Overload.
  • Lava BurstLava Burst: Reduces the cooldown of your Fire (or Storm) Elemental by 6 sec.
  • Frost ShockFrost Shock: Roots the target in place for 6 sec.

Blizzard outlined a list of changes coming to Elemental Shamans in Patch 8.1 that should be available on PTR by the end of this week. We have the first round of improvements  Elemental Shamans in the next content update.

TL;DR:

  • Earth ShockEarth Shock damage decreased, Lightning BoltLightning Bolt damage increased.
  • In-flight Lava BurstLava Burst will now benefit from Flame ShockFlame Shock cast after it.
  • Exposed ElementsExposed Elements (level 15 talent), High VoltageHigh Voltage (level 60 talent) removed.
  • Earthen RageEarthen Rage is now a level 15 talent (up from level 90).
  • Two new talents have been added, but we don't know much about them right now. Both are named after existing Artifact traits, but those are probably just placeholders (thanks @Stormy).
    • Call the Thunder (level 60 talent) -> Call the ThunderCall the Thunder (Legion Artifact trait).
    • Surge of Power (level 90 talent) -> Surge of PowerSurge of Power (Legion Artifact trait).

Blizzard LogoBlizzard (Source)

As the patch 8.1.0 information starts to comes out, we wanted to share the current plans of what is being changed for Elemental Shaman.

Core Ability Changes:

Elemental Shaman is the only lightning based spell caster. However, over time, Lightning BoltLightning Bolt has gone from being a significant portion of your total damage to one of your least damaging abilities. It should be a powerful and effective spell for you to cast, and not something that feels like a burden to your rotation. Earth ShockEarth Shock will still be your hardest hitting spell, but Lightning BoltLightning Bolt should feel a bit better as part of your rotation.

This change should help your initial spells cast against a monster, boss, enemy player, or whatever else feel much better. You can cast Lava BurstLava Burst before combat, and when it finishes, cast Flame ShockFlame Shock, and the Lava BurstLava Burst will gain the critical strike benefit from your Flame ShockFlame Shock

Talent Changes:

The Master of the ElementsMaster of the Elements and StormkeeperStormkeeper changes are primarily to help keep balance between single target damage and area damage of the talent rows. Master of the ElementsMaster of the Elements will now affect your next EarthquakeEarthquake spell to keep the talent more competitive when dealing area damage, and StormkeeperStormkeeper will grant you two really powerful Lightning BoltLightning Bolts that also cause Elemental Overloads when fighting just a single target.

  • The level 15 talent Exposed ElementsExposed Elements has been removed, and the level 90 talent Earthen RageEarthen Rage has taken its place
  • The level 60 talent High VoltageHigh Voltage has been removed.
  • New talent in the level 60 row: Call the Thunder
  • New talent in the level 90 row: Surge of Power

When looking at the whole sum of changes made to Elemental Shaman this expansion, we feel that some of the passive talent choices weren’t holding up well, and had no interaction with how you played the game at all. We’re adding some experimental new talents that should allow some additional decision making on how you choose to use some of your abilities. Please keep in mind that both of these new talents, as well as all of the other changes, are still under iteration and may change entirely throughout the patch 8.1.0 PTR cycle.

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Getting more damage out of our filler is nice and will make our DPS more consistent, but it will also make the mobility issues more pressing so it's a double-edged sword.

Giving us more flexibility on the usage of Lava Burst is interesting, because it will mean that we can use it as Flame Shock is falling off for a potential gain in DPS. Bringing it into the pre-pull rotation will better facilitate using Ascendance and will be a small DPS gain.

Loading that much more damage into Stormkeeper is eye-opening.

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