Totem Talk: Updated Elemental Shaman talents in Legion
Last time we spoke, we were talking about the February updates to the Legion alpha and all of the changes it brought with it. I touched on it only very briefly, but there were quite a number of Elemental Shaman talents bursting on to the scene. I promised that this week we would talk about them more in depth, and we’re going to do just that.
This discussion is going to come with a few caveats. We are talking about the Legion alpha, so things can, and will change between now and when the expansion officially releases. We will be focusing on talents or talent tiers that I feel standout. The post will not on the best talent to take because it’s simply too early for anything like that. Instead, we’ll talk first impressions and thoughts about what we’re seeing so far.
Elemental’s explosive first tier talents
The choices awaiting Elemental Shaman at the level 15 tier are all rather explosive. All three choices seem good in their own rights:
- Path of Flame is very functional, increasing damage of Lava Burst by 10%, and causing Flame Shock to jump to nearby enemies. Numbers-wise I think it it will be great, if not just a bit boring.
- Earthen Rage states that damaging spells cause the earth to attack your enemies for 6 seconds and for 50% of your spellpower. If this looks familiar, it is because it is our current mastery, Molten Earth. Since it’s being replaced in Legion, it’s now a talent choice. The only difference here is that it no longer increases Earthquake’s damage.
- By far, I think the most interesting one in the first tier is Totem Mastery. This talent summons four totems that are all about buffing our combat effectiveness. Each totem represent a different element and the bonuses range from generating Maelstrom to increasing the proc chance of Elemental Overload to increasing haste to buffing Flame Shock damage. The totems only last 30 seconds, but it will be a good 30 seconds.
It’s an interesting call back to the days of classic WoW and Burning Crusade where we had buff totems. It helps answer calls from players who have been asking for more totems to be added back to the Shaman class.
Tier two is all about movement
After that we move into talents that revolve around movement.
- Gust of Wind calls upon the element of air to move us forward.
- Fleet of Foot taps into the primal spirit that lets us move 20% faster for 6 seconds after exiting Ghost Wolf.
- Wind Rush Totem gives us, and anyone who passes within 10 yards of the totem, 60% increased movement for 5 seconds.
All of these seem pretty interesting, and I appreciate the fact that two of them revolve around the element of air. We haven’t had a whole lot of representation in that aspect over the years, so from a thematic standpoint, I’m quite happy to see some attention given to the fact that shaman do in fact call upon wind as often as the other elements.
Crowd control in tier three
In tier three, Earthgrab Totem is currently the same it is on live, but the standout here is the new Voodoo Totem, which immediately stuck out as something of interest. If you choose it, you have a totem that hexes all enemies within 8 yards of it. It’s literally an AOE Hex that you can throw into the mix! Now, it does replace hex if you pick it up, but I think that’s a small price to pay for the totem’s AOE capabilities. I’m already in love with this talent.
DPS increases further down the line
Elemental Fusion is back as a talent, but it has gotten a bit of a change. The current version increases the damage of our shocks while new flavor for Legion increases the chance to gain Lava Surge by 10%. Anything that increases the chance of Lava Burst resetting and becoming instant seems pretty good in my book. It also is down from being a level 100 talent to a level 75 talent.
If you’re into the whole fire thing, which be honest you are, Magnitude will be right up your alley. This talent is on tier five with Elemental Fusion, and looks to make your enemies feel the burn. If your target that has the Flame Shock debuff active and happens to be standing in Earthquake, they take extra fire damage as hot liquid magma boils up through the cracks of earthquake to cook them alive. It synergizes pretty well with Path of Flame and I can see this being absolutely fantastic for burning down large packs of mobs.
Lightning Rod on tier six is another interesting one. It allows our spells to have a chance to debuff our targets, causing them to take 20% more damage from our nature spells like Lightning Bolt. To top it off, this effect isn’t just on the debuff target: all enemies within 20 yards of the unlucky mob will also take that increased damage. It is a cool little talent, that I hope has an appropriately violent electrical visual effect.
The top tier of course has some very solid talents. Newcomer Icefury generates Maelstrom and lets us hurl a giant chunk of ice at a target. Not only does it do damage on its own, it increases the damage of our next four Frost Shocks, which will do 400% more damage. I just love the idea of destroying things with hunks of frozen water. From ice we go to fire with Liquid Magma Totem, which hurls magma at enemies nearby every 3 seconds for 15 seconds — and I’m always keen on more totems.
Ascendance rounds out the top tier, no longer being a baseline ability. It does everything it currently does: turning us into an avatar of fire with no cooldown on Lava Burst and shooting streaming hot chain magma from our hands in with Lava Beam. Aside from the fact that it’s a talent now, nothing has changed. I’m a bit disappointed to see it as a talent choice instead of just being baseline, and I’m actually curious as to the design decision behind this.
Final thoughts on our talent choices
Overall, there’s some good stuff here. Some of the talents are feeling more like flavorful choices that have a beneficial effect. We still have talents that just give us raw damage increases, but it’s starting to feel like there’s a lot more thought being put into making talents fun choices. The fact that there’s basically an entire tier dedicated to wind shows that.
I think there’s still room to grow here, and I would love to see more talents like Totem Mastery and Voodoo Totem. There also remains a lot of baked in synergy and I suspect we’ll see even more of that between talents and our Artifact, the Fist of Ra’den, as the expansion moves closer towards release. Here’s hoping for more good things on the horizon.
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