#1 - April 6, 2017, 12:35 a.m.
As we head into 7.2.5, we'd like to share some thoughts on the spec as it has played out after 7.1.5 and into 7.2.
RNG Elements of Gameplay
I invite you to read Bloodmallet's post, https://www.stormearthandlava.com/rngsus/, and look at the math he has done to determine the high amount of damage swings getting lucky combination of procs can afford us.
A fully proc'd Lightning Bolt adds 30x base damage
A fully proc'd Earthquake utilizing Seismic Storm adds 37.5x base damage
A fully proc'd Chain Lightning on 5 targets adds 75x base damage
These high levels of damage multipliers present problematic gameplay as we rely on a combination of procs to produce a solid level of damage output. Coupled with the fact that the base damage of our abilities are naturally tuned lower due to Elemental Fury, going through a long dry period is a significant hamper to DPS.
Static Overload is an ability that we believe is at the core of the problems with the spec. While the proc is extremely satisfying on a visceral level and is extremely powerful, having periods where Static Overload doesn't proc produces an extremely negative effect on DPS.
Especially in a raid like Nighthold, with most bosses having some sort of periodical burst AOE, not getting a Static Overload proc has hugely negative effect on your damage. For example, on Chronomatic Anomaly, the adds pop up at set times which gives us the opportunity to plan Stormkeeper usage around when the adds will spawn. However, getting a Static Overload proc or two during the add spawn determines if you are 1st on the meters or 7th. Especially after the raid has gear, we are left to praying for Static Overload to proc in three Stormkeeper GCDs or else the adds are dead and we are low on the damage meter.
We enjoy the interesting gameplay of planning Stormkeeper usage and spamming LB/CL to proc a Lightning Rod on the boss before a period of AOE, however Static Overload is simply too strong and has too much of a say in our place in the damage hierarchy.
Solution - Decrease the damage of Static Overload, but allow it to proc more.
Currently, Seismic Storm is bugged. It is not affected by Elemental Fury and is only critting for 200%
Having our new gold trait be a proc is fine, however it is experiencing the same pitfall that we have seen with Static Overload. Seismic Storm is a very powerful proc with a very small chance to actually proc. This falls under the same problems we see with Static Overload as when the raid gets geared, we are left praying for a Seismic Storm proc in the first few seconds to determine our position in the damage hierarchy for the encounter.
Also, investing tens of millions of AP into a 5% proc doesn't seem to make sense on a time invested level. Increasing the proc rate of Seismic Storm increases the perceived value in terms of an Artifact Power and Time perspective.
Solution - Decrease the damage and increase the proc rate
This was a problem with the spec in WoD and has continued throughout Legion. While Legion brought some great QoL improvements in terms of Shock cooldowns, it seems that the design philosophy behind the spec has not changed. While Stormkeeper allows us to bring some very good burst AOE when RNG elements line up, having an AOE niche does not make the spec an effective part of progression. Doing high ST to that priority add or high sustain to the boss is more important than bursting down low HP adds that do nothing to help the overall boss die faster or the raid survive. We have seen our damage suffer on fights like Trilliax and Krosus, where we just don't bring enough sustain to be viable for progression.
While we have the ability to burst down packs of adds, our single target damage has continued to suffer. At levels of high gear, some classes that severely outclass us on Single Target are also outclassing us on AOE.
We would love to see a little Single Target bump that brings us up to mediocre Single Target. There are a few ways to make small changes that could give us a little bump:
Buff Earth Shock
Buff Volcanic Inferno
Allow Lava Burst to overload a 3rd time based on Critical rating
Buff Power of the Maelstrom proc rate