With the translated Korean patch notes for 3.3.2 out, it seems reasonably certain that we know what’s coming for us elemental shamans. Let’s take a look at the changes to our tier 10 four-piece bonus and our shamanism talent! I also want to comment very briefly on Bizuri’s Totem of Shattered Ice.
Tier 10 4-piece
This has gone through a few conceptual changes now, but it looks like it’s finally been decided. Though we’ll have to wait for English patch notes for precise wording, the new bonus is:
Your successful Lava Burst casts increase the duration of your Flame Shock on the target by 6 seconds.
If this sounds familiar, it’s because the same mechanic is already used for many similar effects in-game including the interaction between a Shadow Priest’s Mind Flay and Shadow Word: Pain spells, or an Affliction Warlock’s Haunt and Corruption spells.
It’s also very similar to what our two-piece tier 9 set bonus already does – increasing the duration of Flame Shock (that reminds me, I’ll need to update that post again).
The benefit this gives us is that we have to cast Flame Shock less often. Because Flame Shock does a lot of damage over time but very little damage up-front, this means that we can cast more higher DPS spells instead of Flame Shocks while still benefiting from the spell’s extremely high damage-per-cast-time. You can think of it as saving the effective cast time of a Flame Shock every 18 seconds or so, while also benefiting from having the DoT still tick uninterrupted.
In a stand-up fight
Is this gonna be a standup fight, sir, or another bughunt?
For a stand-‘n-nuke scenario like Patchwerk or Festergut, the bonus is actually pretty big. Modelled in the spreadsheet, Flame Shock can tick 13 to 15 times – which is a duration of 39 to 45 seconds, and potentially more at certain haste values. The range of damage increase depends again on gear level, but for most people it’d be somewhere between 150 and 250 DPS which compares very well to our previous set bonuses.
In a bughunt
Fights with high levels of movement are a bit of a different picture. Normally while moving one of the first things we’d do is refresh Flame Shock. However if we do this with 4t10 we could actually lose DPS – a Flame Shock cast immediately after a Lava Burst can end up expiring sooner than the Flame Shock which was already on the target and being extended!
However, we have another shock option while moving: Frost Shock! While it does cause somewhat more threat than its fiery cousin, and it only has a 25 yard range, it also does a lot more up-front damage than Flame Shock and doesn’t reset the DoT timer – so not only are we getting more up-front damage per hit, we’re also getting an extra tick of the DoT. If we assume that we’ll be able to get about 40 seconds out of every Flame Shock and use Frost Shock instead during movement phases, the bonus is potentially worth about 100 DPS even on a fight with lots of movement. Of course if we don’t use Frost Shock and are moving more than every 20 seconds or so, we get no benefit at all from the bonus.
Where the bonus unfortunately does look bad is on multi-target fights where targets are unlikely to live long enough for the DoT extension to be any use. And even if there’s one target alive the whole time, chances are our Lava Bursts will be needed on the adds and thus the DoT on the main target won’t be extended either. Lady Deathwhisper is the obvious example here, and perhaps the Blood Princes too – though I reckon the latters’ empowered phases last more than long enough to get some serious mileage out of the bonus.
Overall it’s much less ambiguous than the old Lava Burst cooldown reduction and makes 4t10 very desirable over alternative options. Unfortunately, however, it does look like we’ll still have to “clip” the last few seconds of the DoT to avoid it falling off during Lava Burst casts :(
Since 3.0.8 when it was added, this talent has been the core of our high-end scaling and was tweaked up in 3.2.2 when our damage was flagging a bit. It seems that in 3.3.2 it’ll get another 1% per talent point added to its existing bonuses. This means that with 5 points the bonuses are as follows:
|Spell||Current benefit||3.3.2 benefit
|Lightning Bolt||15% (3% per point)||20% (4% per point)|
|Chain Lightning||15% (3% per point)||20% (4% per point)|
|Lava Burst||20% (4% per point)||25% (5% per point)|
Shamanism affects the co-efficients of our spells, which is how much of our spellpower is added to their base damage when we cast. What this means is that an additional 5% of your spellpower will be added to every cast of Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning or Lava Burst.
|Spell||Current co-efficent||3.3.2 co-efficient
Of course Lightning spells also Overload, and despite the base Overload spell only doing half damage, they do gain the full benefit from shamanism:
|Spell||Current co-efficent||3.3.2 co-efficient
|Lightning Bolt Overload
|Chain Lightning Overload
Overloads fire at a 33% rate for Lightning Bolts and an 11% rate (per target hit) for Chain Lightning, so the total benefit of our spellpower now going to each (non-crit) spell is:
|Spell||Current total SP||3.3.2 total SP
Of course the base damage of each spell remains unchanged. Including overloads the base damage figures are 896 for Lightning Bolt, 1099 for Chain Lightning and 1355 for Lava Burst. This means that the effect of this change will be felt most at higher gear levels where more of a spell’s total damage comes from its spellpower. For example presently, at 2,000 spellpower, only about 70% of Lightning Bolt‘s damage comes from SP:
103.16%*2000 / ( 896 + 103.16%*2,000 ) = 69.7%
But at 4,000 spellpower, it’s over 80%:
103.16%*4000 / ( 896 + 103.16%*4,000 ) = 82.2%
I won’t bore you with any more maths here, but at tier 9/tier 10 gear levels, the spreadsheet is putting the tweak at between 4-5% extra overall DPS in all situations, with 5% being the absolute maximum in Best-in-Slot gear without using fire DPS totems. As the only spell we regularly use that isn’t affected by this change is Flame Shock, it’s a very reliable boost to our damage in all situations and doesn’t affect enhancement or restoration. It’s a very safe “knob” for the devs to turn up a notch.
Bizuri’s Totem of Shattered Ice
This 30 Frost Emblem relic is a clear upgrade over its Triumph Emblem sister. But how much of an upgrade? Obviously Flame Shock will be ticking on something for way more of a fight than we’ll be casting Lightning Bolt for, and the buff lasts more than twice as long (30s vs 12s), so it’s more reliable. But then it also has that ramp-up time at the start when the Flame Shock DoT has only just started to tick which we simply can’t circumvent.
Agash did some maths suggesting that the average uptime of Totem of Electrifying Wind is (roughly) between 90 and 99% with about 95% uptime during movement. If we generously assume an average 97% uptime, that works out as 194 haste.
While Bizuri’s buff won’t ever fall off (30 seconds duration and stacks on any Flame Shock tick), it does have a fixed ramp-up time of 15 seconds. In a 5-minute fight that means the uptime of the full 220 haste is only 95%, but the uptime of at least a single stack of the buff is 99%. This also works out as an average 97% uptime for the full haste:
( (3*0+3*44+3*88+3*132+3*176)/15 + 220*(300-15) ) / 300
That makes the average haste granted by the totem about 213. Of course it’ll be less in a shorter fight because the 15-second ramp-up time remains constant. Actually, in theory, a fight shorter than about a minute might favour Electrifying Wind due to the possibility of higher total uptime.
But for the 5-minute fight, if we assume a worst-case scenario for Electrifying Wind and say it’s only got 90% uptime (thus an average 180 haste), then the benefit from equipping Bizuri’s Totem of Shattered Ice is 213 minus 180 equals 33 haste, or 1.1 haste rating per Emblem of Frost spent. Another way of looking at it is about 1 DPS per emblem. Thus in my opinion it’s still better to save it until you’ve got tier 10 (especially with the 4-piece change), even if you only have access to the ilevel 251 stuff (as then you’ll probably be wearing ilevel 232 stuff to upgrade).
And no, I’ve not analysed the per-frost-emblem benefit of going from tier 9 to tier 10, but if anyone wants to try I’d be most interested :)