Note: this post only contains information relevant to elemental shamans in Patch 7.2. For generic patch information, visit WowHead or MMO-Champion. Information about the Tomb of Sargeras and the Tier 20 set is subject to change before the raid releases.
Patch 7.2 brings us some exciting new content, from new artifact traits upon launch to an awesome-looking tier set from the Tomb of Sargeras raid.
Artifact weapon “paragon” points have been re-worked in 7.2. Instead of Stormkeeper’s Power increasing damage done by 5% for the first rank and 0.5% for subsequent ranks, it instead has one rank as a 5% damage boost. The lost damage and stamina is recouped in the first of the new traits, Power of the Earthen Ring. Note that this combined 15% increase is a 0.5% damage increase over the maximum of 14.5% in 7.1.5.
Elemental Destabilisation additively increases the effect of Elemental Fury by 5% for each rank. With an Elemental Destabilisation storm relic available in the Tomb of Sargeras, we will be able to reach 6 ranks of this trait for a max of 30% extra critical strike damage. The latest simulations show that this will be our best relic in many scenarios.
Swelling Maelstrom increases your maximum Maelstrom and the maximum cost of Earth Shock (and therefore damage) by 25. This makes Chain Lightning overloads capping Maelstrom a bit less problematic with an extra 25 as buffer. The rotation will simply shift to cast Earth Shock at 117 Maelstrom. This trait does not increase the value of the legendary boots as the increased damage and Maelstrom refunded is countered by the reduced frequency of Earth Shock casts.
Seismic Storm gives earthquake damage a 5% chance to proc a damaging effect for 700% of your spell power. This is a potent and worrying trait that further increases our damage variance as well as being of benefit only during multitarget fights, with one exception allowing for Earthquake to be used in place of Earth Shock in very certain circumstances (more on this in a later blog post).
The new paragon trait in 7.2 is Concordance of the Legionfall which adds a new % based proc that increases Intellect by 2000 for the 1st point and scales all the way to 11,800 Intellect at the final 50th point. Keep in mind, the 50th point is technically unreachable due to the massive amounts of Artifact Power required. Since this trait is a proc and due to the extreme AP requirements once a few points are put into it, the DPS increase from this trait isn’t as profound as 7.1.5’s flat damage increase paragon trait was. Due to this fact, after a few points are put into this trait, we recommend focusing your AP efforts into your off spec weapon. However, due to the nature of the proc, as your item level increases, the damage bonus of this trait decreases until further points are put into it. What you do with this trait is up to you, but keep in mind, the AP requirements are astronomical and therefore focusing on grinding this trait as high as you can is seen as a waste of time.
The proc does offer some interesting gameplay if everything lines up perfectly, but ultimately this trait increases the RNG nature of the spec. Do not hold onto cooldowns waiting for a proc. We are also not sure what the exact proc rate is at this time.
Patch 7.2 also adds the ability to put a 4th point into Lava Imbued, Molten Blast, The Ground Trembles, Earthen Attunement, Call the Thunder, Firestorm, Electric Discharge, Shamanistic Healing, and Protection of the Elements. As always, we recommend putting the 4th point into Single Target damage increasing traits first.
Patch 7.2 also brings the release of the Solo Challenge artifact appearances. Players must prove mastery of their spec to unlock the base skin, after which they can complete three other feats to unlock the remaining three colours. Elemental shamans are lucky enough to get the amazing Rehgar’s Legacy, imaged below:
Tier 20 – Regalia of the Skybreaker
While we are disappointed that Tier 20 is a rehash of Tier 6, some of us believe that Tier 6 is one of the best looking Shaman sets in the entire game. From what we can see, Tier 20 improves the look of the set and looks to be one of the better looking Tier 20 sets from a game art perspective.
Tier 20 Set Bonuses
2pc – While our Fire or Storm Elemental is active, Flame Shock ticks do 75% increased damage and will always crit.
4pc – Reduces the CD of Fire or Storm Elemental by 2 seconds every time a Flame Shock tick crits.
While this bonus is exceptionally strong for council style fights, it is underwhelming for single target and useless for AOE. We are disappointed in these set bonuses and because of the recent item level bump to all Tomb of Sargeras items, wearing titanforged T19 4pc is not recommended. This bonus does not increase the value of Primal Elementalist or Storm Elemental as simulations point to us to keeping Elemental Blast and Echo/Liquid Magma. For council fights, we effectively will have close to 100% uptime on Fire Elemental. For AOE or burst AOE encounters, we are not Flame Shocking individual mobs and therefore we will lose out on both of these bonuses.
Overall, while T20 looks very good visually, the bonuses are uninteresting and are useless in some circumstances. We feel that these bonuses require tuning and/or a rework to not be so reliant on Flame Shock. We also are weary of becoming a pet class as we feel pet damage should just be baked into the Single Target damage of the spec as that is where we are lacking the most. Coming from a place where our T19 bonuses were exceptional and useful in every situation, it will be a hard transition. Time will tell if Blizzard feels these bonuses are good enough to go live.
State of the spec
Many people have asked us how we feel the spec will stand in 7.2: will it be good? It’s a little early to say whether or not the other specialisations’ power has increased or decreased relative to elemental. Assuming you are above 35 traits at this point in the expansion, you will see a DPS increase when unlocking the new artifact traits. However, we worry that the continued focus on empowering our AOE abilities will come at the cost of proper tuning for our ST which will once again render Elemental a weak specialization in progression raiding. Seismic Storm is the major contributor to these frustrations with 7.2 in that it introduces even more RNG into our damage and reinforces the spec’s trend towards having an AOE niche in a world that requires no such speciality. There are a number of specs who have a similar power level in The Nighthold’s AOE fights but also greatly out-damage elemental in single target fights. 7.2 does nought to remedy this, but we are hopeful that the community’s frustrations will be heard for balancing in patch 7.2.5.