My fellow elemental shaman: Our class is no longer complete. And no, I'm not talking about the recent changes to totems that seems to have everyone up in arms despite being a really good change for the class. I'm referring to the fact that we our class is no longer balanced around level 85. The level 85 game is effectively over. Think of this game as election, and the post 5.0.4 period is the period of time between November 5th January 20th: We're a lame duck class. We're nerfed. And that's fine, because Cataclysm content no longer matters, and exists only to help you relearn your spec before Mists of Pandaria drops.
Our beloved spec has been retooled to be balanced at level 90, where we'll have access to the incredibly powerful Ascendance and the level 90 tier of DPS talents. These will be potent additions to our arsenal, and our current spells have been balanced around the idea that we will have access to them. That doesn't mean everything at 85 is all bad -- we did receive a few nice quality of life changes that you'll notice when you log-in.
- Lava Surge makes Lava Burst instant, which makes it a mobile DPS ability.
- Elemental Fury makes us the only class/spec to crit for more than 200% damage.
- Lava Burst's damage was nerfed, but Lightning Bolt's was slightly buffed to compensate.
- Fire Elemental now lasts one minute, but also only has a five minute cooldown. (Meaning it will be up every attempt!)
- Lightning Shield starts at one stack and stacks to seven, rather than starting at three and going to nine. You no longer lose charges from taking damage.
- Glyphed Flame Shock now lasts 30 seconds, up from 27.
- Stormlash Totem. Hello again, four guaranteed raid spots for shaman. We've missed you so much.