Totem Talk: Fire, earth, ice and shocking revelations
OK, I’m sorry about that title, I just couldn’t help myself. Well, I probably could have, but where would the fun be in that? Anyways, this week I thought we would talk a little bit about my time with my brand spanking new Elemental Shaman in Legion. Much like I did with Restoration in our last installment, I wanted to see how Elemental felt while leveling out in the world. The claims are questing has been improved, and Elemental has been stream-lined to be efficient but still be fun. I figured I would see what all the hubbub was about, and the results may shock you.
Sorry, I’m done, I promise. Before we go any further the normal caveat applies. This is all based on the current build of the Legion alpha and is subject to change as the game moves ever closer to a live release. Still with me?
Hello fire my old friend
The first item on our list today is our good friend, the element of fire. This is, after all, where the bulk of our offense has come from according to shaman lore. Flame Shock and Lava Burst remain the two primary flame based damage dealers, and there is still a Fire Elemental Totem kicking around the place.
Flame Shock is our trusted companion, and as a topic of conversation we’ve had multiple times, there are several talents that augment this old classic. Path of Flame lets it wander to other targets while buffing the damage from Lava Burst, and Magnitude lets you bathe your enemies in molten hot magma when they sit inside an Earthquake while affected by Flame Shock.
Watching the cascade of numbers roll across my screen from the ticks of Flame Shock and the gout of flames from from Magnitude is very rewarding. I actively find myself pulling multiple packs of mobs and not worrying about getting them down before they get me. While I’m still in the process of leveling, it just feels good. The only concern I have is if it will still feel just as good at max level. Hopefully my love of the fire won’t go up in smoke.
Cold shoulder, or back down to earth
Earth Shock is still around. It functions as a resource dump for Maelstrom but gives you a benefit in return. The more Maelstrom you use to cast it, the more damage it does. Make no mistake, it can hit pretty hard. There are several specializations in our artifact, the Fist of Ra-Den, which augment the damage output. Call the Thunder and Earthen Attunement up the damage quite a bit, adding valuable to how we spend our Maelstrom. It was actually pretty nice to see Earth Shock with the artifact augments in action, I felt it was a really grounding experience.
The other surprise to me was how useful Frost Shock was in dealing damage while leveling. This is the first time in a long time that I feel like it is actually useful in PvE instead of being relegated to a PvP ability. It is both an odd and welcome feeling because it adds another viable spell to our DPS arsenal. Like the other shocks, it uses Maelstrom, though Frost Shock has a variable damage output based on the amount you spend on it that scales quickly.
The new talent, Icefury, also plays very well into this. Not only do we hurl a giant block of ice at our target that deals damage, we also get a nice boost to Frost Shock. I mean, 4 casts of Frost Shock at 400% increased damage is a pretty sweet deal. If you stack enough Maelstrom before launching into a spree of throwing ice, you can easily land all 4 shocks in the 15 second window at full effect.
It still has the slowing effect, but the damage is just so good at least while leveling. It felt very powerful and like an honest to goodness useful DPS spell. I really hope Frost Shock still feels that way at max level and stays that way through release. I like feeling as if I have options on damage output, and I would really hate to be left out in the cold.
What I’m enjoying the most while leveling isn’t the feeling of being so powerful, though don’t get me wrong — I do enjoy that. It’s the variety of buttons I’m getting to push. It may sound odd, but having options is a very good feeling. I’m not saying it is the most optimal rotation while leveling or anything of that nature, but being able to decide if we’re going to dump all of our Maelstrom into a single spell, or spread it out over the course of several spells is nice.
Also having the option to watch scores of numbers tick by as every enemy around us is burning to a crisp while the earth rumbles underneath them is amazing. Most of all, having all of our shocks be useful in regular everyday usage is also really nice. I’m going to be spending a lot more time over the next several weeks getting accustomed to our new spell list, and working to see how everything plays with each other, but as of right now I’m liking what I see, and I’m hopeful that the trend will continue.
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