Elemental Discussions - 7.2.5 Part 2

#1 - June 6, 2017, 10:03 p.m.
Blizzard Post
We reached the post cap. Let's continue the madness.


I am not baffled anymore. This is a pretty decent nerf to AOE and knockdowns. What you have outlined as double dipping can easily be called symmetry and Lore specifically said you like how Elemental is playing. I suspect blizzard, as any company would, is allocating resources elsewhere and our spec is just getting the short end of the stick.

Why you would nerf an under performing class who obviously is not going to scale worth a darn is confusing. A majority of the top elemental shaman are already mastery capped. Our best stat being capped at a low ilvl compared to the expansion timeline warrants an explanation in my opinion. How is better gear going to move us up from dumpster dps if our most useful stat is already capped?

Why would you allow earth shock to hit for 900k at full mastery when it doesn't critical strike at 905 ilvl? It is such an obvious design flaw if a class developer was familiar with the class. The fact that we do zero damage on the move is an issue when you also look at our inability to move. On to class fantasy issues. Why is a healing class like shaman the worse passive healer in the game and provides no useful utility? All questions that have been asked in the previous 25 pages of posts. It is almost comical that it was addressed with a nerf to our AOE damage. Come on man.

This spec feels like a dog that has been beaten for years and honestly who cares any more. Kick us again while we are down, nerf our aoe, ignore our ST issues, keep the spec in the gutter, and give us zero reasons or communication as to what is going on. At the end of the day it is blizzards game and we just play it. This week is just par for the course for elemental shaman and who really cares anymore.
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#47 - June 7, 2017, 3:26 a.m.
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06/06/2017 04:16 PMPosted by Gistwiki
In any case, I was posting to flesh out the numbers I presented earlier. Assuming we hit the 3rd tick breakpoint (which is reasonable in M+ assuming you use sephuz) then accounting for the loss of Seismic Storm procs then we're looking at Earthquake needing to be buffed to 92.5% per tick to be equal to live Earthquake.

9 Live EQ procs at 60% = ~540% SP
9 SS proc chances @ 728% SP per proc with the current 5% proc chance = ~327.6% SP

Total average damage as SP per EQ on live = 867.6% SP.

6 PTR EQ procs at 78% = 468% SP
6 SS proc chances @ 728% SP per proc with the current 5% proc chance = ~218.4% SP

Total average damage as SP after the change = 686.4% SP

In order to bring these two numbers together, the damage per Earthquake tick needs to be brought from 65% per tick to 95.2% per tick assuming no other changes are made.

If we assume that the average haste is low enough that you get 8 ticks instead of 9, the average live damage is ~680%. That would require that Earthquake is brought up to ~79.13% damage per tick (474.8% SP over 6 seconds) to be equal to live.

Edit: I forgot The Ground Trembles & Call The Thunder in my original calculations. The numbers above have been updated appropriately.

A simpler way of arranging this, if I understand you correctly, is:

You're assuming that a typical live EQ has either 8 ticks (33.3% haste) or 9 ticks (50% haste including a proc of some kind), instead of the baseline 6. In that case, you would argue for (generously) a 50% buff to EQ and Seismic Storm, but at the minimum a 33% buff?
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#108 - June 7, 2017, 8:11 p.m.
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Brief aside on scaling, since it's getting a lot of discussion in this thread. Slightly technical.

Elemental's scaling with crit doesn't pose any major problems that we know of. Yes, crit doesn't improve Lava Burst, but improves everything else by more than the standard amount due to Elemental Fury and Elemental Focus. This is intended to make crit's total value balanced for Elemental, and as far as we know it's in a good place. A quick glance at community-made guides etc. would indicate that players have the same valuation (crit is far from the bottom stat). The fact that distribution of crit's benefit is not uniform on all spells is in many ways a good thing--it give the stats more texture. It's something that would probably be good to have more of across the specs (as is common with mastery and haste).

Haste improves Earth Shock and Earthquake by virtue of casting them more often (in addition to reducing cast/GCD time, although the former is more important). Imagine a simplified world where 3 Chain Lightnings build enough resource for 1 Earthquake. The entire cast sequence of CL-CL-CL-EQ gets compressed by whatever your haste percentage is, improving your DPS by that amount. The Earthquake doesn't have to do more damage per cast with haste (in the same way that the Chain Lightning doesn't do more damage per cast, and nobody questions that).
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#169 - June 8, 2017, 12:36 a.m.
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We agree that the mastery cap is not ideal. It is not completely urgent since you have to be rather mastery-stacked to hit it, even in current endgame gear. But knowing that problem will get worse, I would not be surprised if we looked into it in an upcoming patch.

EDIT: I believe PTR should currently (or shortly) have:
--Earth Shock damage increased by 25% (from 20%)
--Earthquake damage increased by 55% (from 30%)
--Frost Shock damage increased by 25%
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#172 - June 8, 2017, 12:43 a.m.
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Just Earthquake for now. Rather than buff both equally, putting the whole buff into EQ shifts some damage from SS towards EQ in the process to make things a little less random.
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#554 - July 22, 2017, 12:31 a.m.
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Next PTR will have a small set of Elemental changes meant to focus on a couple specific problems.

Mastery capping
• Elemental Overload does 85% of base damage (from 75%) and proc rate reduced 17%
• Totem Mastery-Storm Totem bonus 5% (from 10%)
• Elemental Blast gives 2000 stats at level 110 (from 2400)
• All damage abilities increased 3%

Some of the power of mastery is shifted from proc rate into damage. The nerfs to Totem Mastery and Elemental Blast don't require talent rebalancing, since they are minor and those are talents are already generally favored. The slight total DPS loss from those changes is counteracted in the baseline spec. With both talents, the mastery cap (with all these changes) would increase from 10400 rating to 15067.

Chain Lightning dominating Earthquake
Chain Lightning is so strong that Earthquake is often not attractive to cast. There are also secondary issues such as the importance of Lightning Rod procs and resource overflow in AoE.

• Chain Lightning damage reduced 12% and generates 4 Maelstrom (from 6)
• Earthquake damage increased 29%
• Earth Shock damage increased 13%

Damage is shifted from Chain Lightning into Earthquake, and Earthquake is further increased to account for generating less Maelstrom (which helps the overflow issues, including on Static Overload procs). The Earth Shock buff helps stave off the potential for Earthquake to get too close to it again, and a buff to Earth Shock was pretty reasonable generally.

Again, the goal is to address these issues in a relatively contained way. 7.3 is generally light on class changes, but we wanted to try to get at these known problems. As always, open to feedback on any complications that these look like they might introduce.
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#590 - July 22, 2017, 5:58 a.m.
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07/21/2017 07:54 PMPosted by Gistwiki
One additional concern we're seeing here is that based on preliminary testing this change is not accomplishing its intended goal without an extremely large number of targets. Chain Lightning spam is still projecting to be higher than using your Maelstrom Power at all up until you reach around 7 targets. Earthquake is still not strong enough.

So far as we can tell, with the current changes (which have Earthquake at 100% SP per tick) a more standard AoE rotation won't be worth it over Chain Lightning spam unless it's brought to at least ~117% per tick or so (where it'll be about equal at 5 targets.)

The only case it appears to be worth it in is where it's the only way to proc Sephuz's Secret, in which case using it only to proc Sephuz's Secret but not at any other time is dps neutral.

The extra factor that wasn't accounted for here is the impact that the change to the damage per Mastery hit would have on Static Overload procs. This also significantly increases the range of impact that Static Overload has, which only makes how inconsistent it is even more painful.

The question I have at this point is why is this even left as a potential question? Earthquake is our only AoE Maelstrom Power spender. It should be so massively, unquestionably stronger than spamming Chain Lightning that even the notion of Chain Lightning spam should be laughed out of the room.

Thanks. To the various comments here and above:

--If Elemental Blast is actually behind after the small nerf, it should be relatively easy to correct by buffing its own damage. That said, the current set bonus pushes Primal Elementalist (and that sort of thing is generally acceptable for a tier), which means it's unsurprising if it's slightly ahead on its row for right now.

--We agree Earthquake should be more of a "finisher" out of the two, and this set of changes is trying to go in that direction. It should at least be used consistently in its intended role. It sounds a little odd that changing one spell's damage 45% relative to the other (plus the Maelstrom change) doesn't at all change the number of targets at which you'd use Earthquake, but we're happy to keep looking at any more detailed discussion of why that would be the case.

--The Maelstrom change would be a pacing change, but I think there are some advantages if we keep it and instead put value into buffing Earthquake (further than this if needed). It helps the above discussion of Earthquake actually being worth enough to stand out. The current version where, on average, each Chain Lightning pays for more than one Earthquake is a pretty weird builder/spender relationship--and is part of the answer to your question of why Earthquake isn't stronger. Also, Maelstrom overflow is a significant issue currently. In your example of Static Overload, it currently overflows in literally every case (on 5 targets). Pulling back on that and giving Earthquake much higher value cuts down on resource waste while making it more valuable when you spend it.

If the main problem is that the Earthquake buff here isn't enough to accomplish the goals as described, that's something we can review further (and of course welcome any further input on that question).
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#706 - July 24, 2017, 8:20 p.m.
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Few updates--potentially not on the upcoming PTR:

1) Not going forward with the Maelstrom generation change. It's generally way too much disruption and potentially new problems introduced for something that's meant to be a somewhat minor set of changes in this patch. Given all the feedback that was concerned about the slowdown it would cause on 2-3 targets, it's okay to leave Chain Lightning generating resource so quickly on 5 targets--it's a less bad problem overall, and also what people are already used to on live.

Reverting the Maelstrom change is also effectively a further buff to Earthquake damage. This should be a clear net buff to steady AoE where Earthquake can be used well (which is not every AoE situation). It may not completely cause Earthquake to surpass Chain Lightning, but it is a big step in that direction. We'll likely tweak numbers further to balance all these concerns/goals. Namely:
--Helping out Earthquake substantially
--Not causing a large buff to AoE damage in steady Earthquake-friendly situations
--Not causing a large nerf to Chain Lightning-only burst (which is a strength that Elemental is used to in Legion)

2) Slightly buffing Elemental Blast's own damage to mostly cancel out the reduction to the stat buff, as discussed earlier.

3) Buffing Frost Shock in parallel with Earth Shock. We still need to look into Frost Shock interactions with the 7.3 set bonus if we go forward with that bonus.