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Totem Talk: Elemental 101


Melee combat? Barbaric. Healing? How pedestrian. Let the elements do the talking. Totem Talk: Elemental. Brought to you by Mike Sacco.

If you're here and reading this, you've probably decided that elemental will be one of your shaman's two possible specs and you want to get a good grasp of how it all works before you dive in. The maiden voyage of Totem Talk's Elemental edition is intended to tell you everything you need to know to get started as one of the game's simplest specs, from mechanics to gearing to rotation.

What it isn't intended to be the is be-all-end-all of Elemental theorycrafting. We'll delve into more complex stuff later on.

Let's get started!
1. What is Elemental?

Elemental is the ranged DPS tree available to the shaman class. You deal damage from afar with Nature and Fire spells.

2. Elemental benefits
  • A simple rotation and easy mechanics.
  • Damage increases dramatically once you acquire Lava Burst, making you competent DPS immediately at 80.
  • Lots of buffs to nearly every class/spec you could party with.
  • Little mystery in gear upgrades.
3. Elemental drawbacks
  • A boring rotation. Very little to watch for or keep track of.
  • Your damage doesn't scale as well with increasingly powerful gear compared to other classes/specs after the initial boost from Lava Burst. You'll notice.
  • Few "unique" buffs and many buffs that are trivialized by ones provided by other classes.
  • Highly specialized gear means it's harder to find from bosses -- and Blizzard doesn't provide much emblem gear suitable for Elemental, either.
  • Elemental has few worthwhile instant-cast spells or DoTs, making them ineffective in any fight that involves moving around.
4. Stats to look for

Besides the ever-present intelligence and stamina, which will be on all the gear you want anyway, you'll be looking for four main stats:
  • Spell power. Obviously, you want a lot of it. More spell power equals more damage.
  • Haste. Haste does two important things: increases your spellcasting speed, allowing you to fit more spells into your rotation in between cooldowns; and decreases your global cooldown down to a minimum of one second, allowing you to cast more spells in shorter periods of time.
  • Crit rating. Besides the obvious factor of making more of your spells critical strikes, crit rating also helps keep important Elemental talents, such as Clearcasting and Elemental Oath, active.
  • Hit rating. Elemental shaman should focus on hitting the spell hit cap as soon as possible. You want a total of 14 percent or 368 rating if you're anything but a draenei, who need 13% or 342 rating. Remember: After you hit 14%, hit is 100% useless.
In terms of priority, it's: Hit (until capped), spell power, haste, then crit.
5. Stats to avoid

Just as important as what to look for is what not to look for.
  • Spirit. This is not a "shaman stat." None of the shaman specs, Elemental included, have talents that give us extra benefits from spirit and, quite frankly, our built-in mana regen is plenty.
  • MP/5. While it's a good stat for Restoration, Elemental doesn't need it. Avoid it.
There are exceptions to these rules, mind you -- many of the first available post-80 badge rings have some useful stats (SP, haste/crit) but also have spirit on them. If they're the best you can get or afford, it's okay to have gear with a little bit of spirit or mp5 as a stopgap until you can get something better.


Filed under: Shaman, (Shaman) Totem Talk

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