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WoWMay 19, 2016 3:00 pm CT

Totem Talk: Taking a look at Doomhammer’s artifact traits

It strikes me as a little bit funny that for all of the time in which I’ve been talking about Enhancement in Legion, I haven’t really analyzed the Doomhammer traits in any particular depth. Sure, on some level it’s kind of silly — after all, there’s no choice involved. If you’re wondering which Doomhammer traits to pick up, the answer “all of them, eventually” is technically correct and entirely possible. But at the same time, there are talents in there which are better than others, and the weapon is going to have a significant impact on our abilities in this expansion cycle.

Of course, the other thing to note is that the tree has changed quite a bit through each build. Now that we’re in beta and have a launch fast approaching, though, it’s reasonable to assume that most of the changes will be more along the balance end rather than the functional end. So let’s take a look at what the Doomhammer looks like with all of its talents, which ones are better, and which ones you will live and die by.

Be the storm itself.

Doom Winds: As mandatory starter abilities go, this one isn’t bad. It lines up nicely with some of our other abilities and provides a nice solid cooldown that unleashes lots of damage in short order. This definitely pushes Enhancement to prioritize speed of attacks over everything, as the more you can get in during that 15s window, the more times Windfury is going to go off for big damage. That alone adjusts some of the values of talents here and there.

Hammer of Storms: Nothing interesting, a straight buff to our primary damage dealer. Relevant mostly for relics potentially buffing it, which is worth prioritizing.

Gathering of the Maelstrom: Again, nothing very interesting, just a faster method of building resources. It’s not even leading to the better talent option here; I would put this down at a lower priority unless you notice yourself having some real resource problems early on due to talents.

Gathering Storms: This is only really useful in AoE situations; on single-target stuff, Crash Lightning just isn’t worth it. Still, it’s a pretty significant buff to your AoE damage, and with that being something that Enhancement has been doing for this whole expansion, I imagine most people will want it. Plus, it unlocks the better of the two talents up at the next tier, so that’s another mark in its favor.

Wind Surge: The “shared” talent between Gathering Storms and Gathering of the Maelstrom; maxing either one unlocks this option. Functional but not terribly interesting, much like Hammer of Storms, although it does play quite nicely with Doom Winds and other buffs to your Windfury chance. Much like Hammer of Storms, you’ll probably want to prioritize relics offering another level or two here.

Weapons of the Elements: Two major strikes against this one. First, it’s not a great investment per point; a 3% increase to these abilities pales in comparison to other spots where you could put three points. (That might get buffed.) Second, the abilities it’s buffing are not your bread-and-butter damage dealing abilities, thus making it a passive increase that increases the weaker of your abilities. There are worse options, but it’s a fairly weak talent.

Wind Strikes: Ah, this is much better. It’s sort of like a mini-Windfury that helps you build up to more actual Windfury, it improves resource generation with more attack speed, and about the only thing that’s less desirable about it is the fact that it’s based entirely off of another proc. Still, I’d point to this as one of the more useful talents and something worth prioritizing, albeit not as much as Wind Surge/Hammer of Storms.

Alpha Wolf: One point and it’s a straight AoE buff, very worthwhile for grabbing when you’re leveling up your artifact. Relics improving this trait seem both unlikely and unnecessary.

Spiritual Healing: This talent is probably the worse of the options at this particular point in progression, but it also unlocks what I’d argue to be the better tier at this level. It’s not a bad talent by any stretch of the imagination, but we have a talent that offers reliable enough self-healing for when you want it, and the rest of the time Healing Surge isn’t very compelling. Definitely not something you want to slot more levels into via relics.

Well, that's one way to do it.

Elemental Healing: Astral Shift is an ability you’re already going to be using forbad situations, and this makes those bad situations more survivable in several ways. It works well in PvP, it works well in PvE, it even works well solo. Sure, you’re only going to be getting benefit out of it when you’re already in panic mode, but making your defensive cooldown more potent is a good feeling. It’s not worth relic slots unless you PvP a whole lot, but it is a good trick.

Doom Wolves: Well… it’s there? It makes your Spirit Wolves a bit stronger? It justifies the point you spend on it, but it’s not going to improve your performance too much, since it’s mostly just about making one of your big cooldowns more punchy. I am neutral on it.

Stormflurry: Right, this is awesome right here. Sure, it’s entirely luck-based, but it also luck-based in an absurd way and functionally works much like Windfury already does. It is awesome, it is chaotic, and it’s the sort of thing that really celebrates the absurdly good chain luck that Enhancement can get. Definitely a good option.

Forged in Lava: Another workhorse talent, but this one specifically augments one of our big spenders, and it does so in a sizable fashion. A desirable and solid talent, if not exciting; pick it up and don’t be reluctant to relic it up. Flat damage increases are nothing to be scoffed at.

Doom Vortex: Plays nicely with old-style Enhancement thanks to Overcharge and gives a solid proc to Lava Lash, justifying its existence nicely. I would strongly consider working toward this talent first when you start leveling Doomhammer; it’ll take you 16 levels on the hammer to pick it up, but it’s going to have some nice long-term impact to have it sooner rather than later. A very nice trick.

Raging Storms: I really like this talent. It makes your good luck even luckier, and it plays nicely with Wind Strikes. Like its counterpart on the other end of the tree, it’s all about luck, but that’s luck you rely upon anyhow. Worth grabbing and worth relic slots, definitely.

Spirit of the Maelstrom: Who is it that really likes this effect and keeps putting it in here? It is, strictly speaking, nice to know that mobility-heavy fights will give you a burst of extra Maelstrom to spend when you pop out of Ghost Wolf form, but this is just not a very good option on a whole. It’s among the last talents worth picking up, simply because it does nothing but provide resources that you can likely generate much faster through other means. Not worth relic spots.

Unleash Doom: A shame about that last talent, because this one is pretty cool, albeit very passive. It’s a proc based off of a proc, which is all right in and of itself. That chaining Stormstrike action from Stormflurry sure won’t hurt on this one. It’s a pity that you have to push through Spirit of the Maelstrom to get here.

Overall, the talents are fairly pedestrian and straightforward, but in a good way; it’s pretty easy to see which of the talents are most worth augmenting or largely ignoring. It all adds up to a pretty nice boost for Enhancement, though, and it feels like it’s in a good place. I can live with highly functional that gets a bit boring.

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