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WoWSep 28, 2016 1:00 pm CT

Totem Talk: What Shaman class changes mean for Elemental and Restoration

It’s been an exciting few weeks for players, with the highly anticipated Emerald Nightmare raid and Mythic+ dungeons going live. These new challenges are something many have been looking forward to. Raid and dungeon releases always have a way of getting players excited.

Along with this new content, we’re seeing the first wave of class and spec balancing. This is usually a constant thing, and we’ll surely see many more to come over the course of the expansion. Elemental and Restoration Shaman both got a number of tweaks, and we’ll talk about them today.


Elemental updates

Since the launch of Legion, Elemental felt like it could have a little more of a kick its spells — and now we have a number of tweaks to address just that concern. These seemingly small adjustments will all add up.

  • Chain Lightning received two distinct updates. The first, and most straightforward, being the damage increase of 23%. Next, Maelstrom generation increased from 4 to 6 per target hit. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but it makes it much more useful. The faster we generate Maelstrom, the faster we can use a follow-up spell like Earthquake or Earth Shock.
  • Lightning Bolt also had a damage increase of 23%, which helps give it that little bit more when using it in our rotation.
  • Lava Burst damage has been increased by 5%, which is always welcome. Considering how often we use it, and how often Lava Surge procs happen, this adds up over the course of a fight.
  • Storm Elemental received a little love as well. Call Lightning and Wind Gust both had a damage increase of 20%. It helps to make the most of that 5-minute cooldown.
  • Lastly, Elemental Overload received a tweak. The effect of our Mastery has been increased by 12.5%. Considering that most of the gear we’ve received so far has a healthy amount of Mastery, this could be a nice swing in our favor. I’m looking forward to seeing how this plays out in a normal raid boss encounter to find out exactly how much extra damage it accounts for.

Overall, it’s better than it has been over the last few weeks. Not that we were bad off, but it feels like we are moving into a better place. The changes have the potential to allow us to fight for a spot higher up on the DPS rankings.


Restoration tweaks

The good news here is that we haven’t seen much in the way of nerfs yet, and for the most part our healing has felt pretty good. Dungeons, Heroics, Mythics, and Mythic+ dungeons not only feel doable but feel good to heal. That’s not to say that things couldn’t be improved, and we have two updates to talk about.

  • First, we received the same Chain Lightning update that Elemental did. This may seem wasted, but it is incredibly useful when working on World Quests. Groups of mobs tend to be our undoing, so anything that increases our damage and allows us to dispatch them faster helps.
  • The second update was to Queen Ascendant, our Artifact trait. What was happening was that if the ability was triggered, and a spell was queued up, it would consume the effect, making it inconsistent. With the update, we can actually make effective use of the buff when it’s up.

This sounds like a small thing, but being able to choose where we apply that 5% haste is important. It can be the difference between a tank death and subsequent wipe or tank survival and victory. It will definitely be something that’s appreciated when in a Mythic or Mythic+ dungeon when there isn’t another healer to help cover that split second gap in healing.

Overall, we should hope for more changes like this, with spell damage increases or fixes for annoying bugs. These tweaks push Shaman in the direction of being both fun to play and effective in our roles.

For those of you who have been waiting for more Elemental content in this column, don’t worry: it’s coming. With the release of Legion, my primary focus has been on filling the healing needs of my guild and group. Now, with Emerald Nightmare and Mythic+ available as well as my groups getting up to speed, it frees me up to dive back in to Elemental. It’s something I’ve been dying to do for weeks now, and I’m looking forward to spending some well-deserved time dealing damage.

In future weeks, we’ll be covering raid encounters, participating in Mythic+ groups as well as some potential PVP. We’ll go over gearing, Artifact traits, and more for the Elemental Shaman in the audience. If there’s something you want covered, let me know and I’ll do my best to cover it in a timely manner.

Until then, keep keep throwing those lightning bolts and those health bars filled.

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