Thursday, March 26, 2009

Elemental Shaman - Spec, Gear, Stats, and Rotation

Morning blog lovers!

This subject has been on my mind since I spent a few days messing around with my choosen off spec for my resto shaman, elemental. All of this information that I am writing down is my take on the spec and what I think I should be doing.

I was pretty amazed that there isn't that much elemental information out there. There might be some on the offical wow forums, but my work blocks that site and I usually try to avoid that place whenever it is possible. Mostly due to shear dumbass-ery of the majority of people that post there. In either event, the only soild / updated information I found on elemental shamans in the blogmosphere is our good friend Ribeye. So check him out for some Shaman pew pew talk.

The Spec...

The heart and soul of any class in our world.....of warcraft. Personally, I usually do not like going with "cookie cutter" specs. However, in the world of elemental shaman there are very few points to play around with, especially if you are planning to raid.

This "cookie cutter" pve spec is 57/14/0. I have a unblocked talent calulator for all of you working in corporate america located here.

If your job does have this talent calulator blocked, they are probably on to you and your wow addiction. I wouldn't recommend reading anything gaming related, your job might depend on it lol.

In the elemental tree, the only talents you are passing up are pvp oriented. Take Eye of the Storm talent for example. You spend 3 talent points and you do not suffer push back from damaging attacks 69% of the time. Alot of elemental shamans would take this talent because on paper it sounds good. That would be a mistake for a couple of reasons.

First, fully talented and in correct gear, your two main damage spells take less then 1.5 seconds to cast.

Secondly, you should not be taking damage. If you do take damage, its not going to be long before you get your cast off....its less then 1.5 seconds! What is a whooping 69% going to do? Enless you are going for pvp spec, don't take this talent. Instead use it for something that would be more helpful to your role as dps, such as Lighting Overload.

One last note on the spec section is to make sure you are putting those 14 points into the Enhancment tree. 10% more intellect, 5% more crit, 30% more spell power with flametongue weapon, and 45% less mana with our shock spells IS ESSENTIAL to the build.


Say it with me, the fastest way to increase my dps is to reach the hit cap. One more time so I know it sticks with you.

The fastest way to increase my dps is to reach the hit cap.

I just can not stress how important it is to reach the hit cap as an elemental shaman. You will see your dps soar by atleast 500 DPS. That is the minumum it will increase too...I know when I reached the hit cap, my dps went from 1700-1800 to 2600-2700. It is that important and should be your number 1 goal when gearing.

I meantion this in an article I wrote last week, but I will say it again. There are only 8 pieces of mail gear that has spell hit on it. Go over to toomanyalts and check out his list. He wrote it better than I can...that is for sure!

Depending on what you plan on doing, the hit cap ranges. Let me explain...

5 man heroic bosses - 79 spell hit to be capped (with talents)
10 man raid bosses - 368 spell hit to be capped (with talents)
25 man raid bosses - 368 spell hit to be capped (with talents)


Like I said at the begining of the article, there isn't too much information I found on pve elemental shamans. So I am going off what I think would be best for the class.

Elemental Shamans have always been a high crit, low spell damage class. With all of the changes to the elemental tree in 3.0.9, that has changed in my opinion. I look at my elemental shaman like I would look at any dps caster class. It is all about the spell power. With our spec, it is important to remember that we want our crit to be as high as possible in order to take full advantage of our talents and abilities.

With that being said, I would rank your stats as follows...

Spell Hit>Spell Power>Crit>Haste>Intellect

Could people argue my list? Of course and I want them too. However, you can not deny that if you gear your shaman with those weighted stats in will be fine. Personally, I don't think you should ever go under 25% crit rating. I like to have my crit in the 30% range if it is at all possible, but 25% isn't terrible.

In my current elemental set, I have 1900 spell power, 26% crit, and 280ish haste. When you take into consideration our talents and that we can not avoid mp5 on most of our gear. You should never have to worry about mana regeneration.


Here is the good stuff. Now you are hit capped and ready to melt faces. However, what rotation will maximize your dps? That is a great question and here is what I have found through my experiments.

Start with flame shock and immediately start pushing out those lighting bolts. Wait until your flame shock is almost off cool down and cast lava burst. Right after that hits, flame shock again. Now you want to push out those lighting bolts until the lava burst is off cool down. Then you just repeat.

Of course you are going to use trinkets and other cool downs in the process, but that is the basic rotation I have had the most success with.

Quick tips
  • You want your flame shock to run its course and have lava burst hit it at the last possible second. This is extremely important if you care about getting every ounce of dps output you can. Through testing, when I did not let flame shock run its course or just didn't pay too much attention to it. I did about 200-250 less dps then when I kept an eye out for it. , Nothing game changing or major but if you are a good player, you want that extra dps.
  • When a group of bad guys gets pulled by your tank(s), you want to pick 1 mob that you are going to focus on. You then want to use chain lighting every time its off of cool down. The extra aoe will help your group take down the mobs and make your dps numbers look alot nicer.
  • When If you pull aggro, use thunderstorm to kick them back to the tank. Sometimes I would purposely try to pull aggro just to use that ability lol...its fun

I have not played around with the elemental gyphs, but I will get into that another time.

EDIT: For more information and corrections to my article. Please check out the comment section. It has ALOT of great information in regard to Elemental Shamans (gyphs, rotation correction, gear, helpful links, talents corrections, ect...)


Anonymous said...

Ok, Hit Till capped> Spell D >Haste >Crit. haste is more important until you hit 510-520 and get that extra LB in.

Dulcea said...

There is actually a glyph (I can't think of the name at the moment) that doesn't consume your Flame Shock when you cast Lava Burst. So your rotation is a little off, but a wonderful post.

And you're right. There really aren't many ele info sites out there. Tis a shame. :(

Mister K said...

Yes the first thing you will want to do if you spec elemental is get the glyph of flameshock. Flameshock lasts 6 sec. longer and lava burst does not consume the flame shock. You can get 2 lava bursts in during the one flame shock.

Anonymous said...

Yes, this is a nice intro but with one glaring error about spell rotation. For raiding elemental, Glyph of Flame Shock is mandatory, and this changes the shot rotation. This glyph increases the duration of the Flame Shock DOT, but more importantly it is no longer consumed by casting Lava Burst. So the elemental rotation for maximum DPS becomes:

Flame Shock, Lava Burst, Lightning Bolt, Lightning Bolt, ....

subsequently casting Lava Burst anytime it's off cooldown, and Flame Shock anytime it's about to wear off.

Anonymous said...

Ok go read the TTT article at EJ and then re-post.

Some spots like the hit cap you are on the money, others like rotation are dead wrong.

hit to cap>spell power> haste> crit> int (only as int provides crit)> stm.

Anonymous said...

Also, Reverberation is a PVP talent, so dropping a PVE talent like Eye of the Storm to get it citing that it's a pvp talent is a little backwards.

Reverberation does nothing for elemental shaman rotations, since flame shock lasts much longer than its cooldown and you will not be using any other shocks during your rotation.

On the contrary, Eye of the Storm is extremely useful. AOE hits that cut into your cast time don't affect you as much in raids. And when you're alone doing dailies or quests or anything outside of dungeons, it's a life-saver. As someone who enjoys the Stoneclaw + Magma combo for AOEing down packs of rhinos to hoard meat, I'll tell you that having that skill for doing damage while 7 rhinos are hitting you is extremely worthwhile.

It's also worthwhile when your Bolt -> FS -> Lava combo doesn't finish an enemy off entirely and they make it to you when you're still casting the last skill to make them die. It can be the difference between taking another hit or not. And if you've ever tried soloing a 3 or 5-man quest in northrend without it, forget it. Some of those bosses hit you far too often for that skill not to be effective.

Anonymous said...

With WotLK everyone knows it's all about aoe tanking. To increase dps even farther is run up with melee dps. On the way up you can lay your spell haste totem, and when you get to the group, lay down a magma totem(which no longer causes threat). Then take a step back casting f.s., lava b., chain l., light b. lava b., f.s., then repeat. Glyph of chain lighting and lighting bolt are also handy, but with 3.1 the wraith glyph looks like a replacement for lighting bolt glyph. On another note, when... if you pull agro, after thunderstorm a frost shock to the guy will enable more time for to burn his face off :)

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Your fairly close to hitting the mark but i have a couple of suggestions

1)Drop reverberation. Only time i picked it up for pve is when i was trying to get less-rabi.Pick up eye of the storm. Contrary to your belief its extremely useful on fights such as grobby where even the slime aoe can pushback your spells.

2) Get the glyph of flame shock. If you dont have it your doing atleast 200 less dps than you can. With that your rotation is going to be FS->LvB->LB->LB->LB. CL only appears on the second rotation if you waiting for LvB cooldown and you can substitute ES instead of FS during the end of the first rotation

3)Hit>SP is right. But haste vs. crit is questionable. Haste stacking only works when you can maintain your rotation. any crit over 25% is not a waste, but not particularly useful either. Get to 25% crit and then follow up with SP>Haste.

Anonymous said...

You don't need 389 hit rating to be hit capped. Math will not follow (because I'm lazy). You need about 280 hit rating, for 11.25% on your paper doll; add 3% from talents, and an extra 3% from either Improved Faerie Fire, or a Ret Paladin's Judgment, and you have that 17% hit rating.

You do need as much crit as you can squeeze out. But I wouldn't focus on crit to the exclusion of spellpower. I have about 2k spellpower and 28% crit, while being hit capped in a raid. I can do about 3500dps single-target.

Some rotation advice: Glyph Flame Shock. Lead with a Lightning Bolt (when you can), chain Flame Shock to the end of it. Immediately rock out Lava Burst; you can squeeze 3 Lava Bursts into a glyphed Flame Shock tick rotation. Beyond that, hit Chain Lightning every time it's off cooldown (until next patch when it gets overhauled as a more AE-oriented spell).

As far as talents go, I'm partial to this build:

If you're not doing raid content, but rather mostly 5-mans, it's okay to drop Elemental Warding for either Elemental Weapons or Convection. I think those are really the only 3 points that are flexible.

Ribeye / Manchego said...

I got filterpwnd. :(

Here's another, alternate website with the talent / glyph build in place. This bad mamma jamma gets through tons of work filters. :;55453;55454;58063;

(sorry for the long link)

Assuming you glyph right, as several posters have said, Ele DPS rotation is kind of a bizarre thing in that, because it's highly affected by haste with regards to what you can shove in between Lava Bursts, your rotation may vary a lot.

The basics of it come down to priorities:

1) Keep Flame Shock up and ticking at all times. Should be your first cast, and then often enough to renew through the fight.
2) Lava Burst every friggin cooldown
3) If Chain Lightning is available and Lava Burst is on cooldown, use it.
4) If Lava Burst and Chain Lightning are on cooldown, Lightning Bolt away until one is available again, unless you need to renew Flame Shock.
5) Profit

With regards to the build, I dropped Reverbration out as well. It's actually less DPS-effective to use shocks every cooldown if your Flame Shock is glyphed, so 1 sec less = mucho wasted talent points. Same with a lot of the fire totem-related / damage mitigating stuff. Shaman is not 4 tanks. :P

Worth noting for gear - MP5 is more or less right out. You get enough return from talents, totems, replenishment, etc that the incidental MP5 that finds its way into your gear is more than enough. Crit is nice, but hits a point of diminishing returns. Once you're above ~23-25% or so, it's probably better to stack haste to the level that you can shove one more Lightning Bolt in between Lava Bursts (I think the number to hit this is like 450-500ish). Of course, this is all assuming you're hitcapped, too. That's priority #1, like you said.

Last DPS note, Shammies dont have much that they can do on the move. If you know that you'll need to make minor positioning adjustments, do them while you Flame Shock and in the GCD right after if you can. On a fight like Thaddius, I almost always hit a shock and Thunderstorm as well (if it's up) when I switch polarity sides. Make use of what you can when you're running!

Ribeye / Manchego (again) said...

fgffsd. My HTML-fu is weak, but I'll retry this link, broken in the above post.


thedoctor said...

Thanks for all of the comments. Like I said, I wasn't 100% on everything dealing with elemental shamans, especially rotation.

After I wrote this post and got home from work, I checked out some elemental gyphs and reading through the comment section, it really helped my decision on what to get.

Thanks for all of the comments again, I know it helped me out.

Delos (Dave) said...

Awesome post. My elemental shaman just hit level 60. This was much needed info! :)

Anonymous said...

You should take down the rotation part of the blog immidiately, the reason you are doing such low dps is probably because you are not glyphing right/casting the right spells. Correct cast sequence on a raid boss should be something similar to this: LB->FS->LvB. Crank out LB's until you need to reapply FS or LvB is off cd. Its that simple.
You should always have the FS glyph as well as the LB glyph, I'd also reccomend the LvB glyph as well. Also, haste is very underrated, if you have 30% crit buffed then you should start gemming for haste.

Tcler said...


Wonderful post and I will be back :)

Just a minor comment on spell rotation... I have started to toss thunderstorm into my rotations for up close fights. So an INSTANT 1500 damage is nothing to sneeze at, with mana to boot.

Also in the transition to Patch 3.1 I forgot to install the add-on quartz ... lets me queue the next spell.


Electrifier said...

OMG OMG OMG only just found this blog.

A real haven for a upcomming raiding ele shammy. Had the urge for some good discussions about loads of stuff concerning the pve aspect of shamans. Only ever raided as hunter (aye nublet class ><) and my disc priest. So really looking forward to getting things started on the shaman.

Seems like our good doctor and ribeye have some oppinions worth listening too (some at least), and was wondering if maybe a future blog would/could contain a pre-raid gear list? I find this part to always be the hardest, as i refuse to join raids without beeing 100% ready.

Oh and another thing - hows the general standpoint on shamans in anything but mail gear? i see loads of hit rating and such on leather gear? i know the will often hold spirit as well and that is of absolutely no use to us space elephants, but considering the toughness in getting hit rating mail caster stuff might be an option. or would it?


Anonymous said...

rotation is FS > LB > LB > LB >LB > LB > FS

After all that stuff you spewed about hit cap increasing dps, you cant even get the rotation right.

thedoctor said...

To the douchebag above me that posted.

Blow me you ignortant piece of shit. If you read the fucking article you would of noticed the multiple times I said I didn't really know what I was talking about. Its not my fault that WoWinsider saw my article and decided to post it.

GTFO my blog and go make babies with your family, you incest, humpbacked mother fucker.

warcraft articles said...

nice post. Yeah I think haste is more important as well.

Pangoria Fallstar said...

I had posted this back in February.

I'm gonna do a more updated post especially after the Lightning Overload changes.

Sucks when people read something from months ago, and it's like 1.5 patches ago, and they've changed things since huh?

ret paladin pvp said...

hey great blog. really enjoying it!

Anonymous said...

With patch 3.2 changing wind shock to wind shear and making it not sharing cd with shock spells, Reverberation is very nice for fights which requires a lot of interrupts such as Vezax, iron council hard mode, 2nd boss in trial of crusade, and any other trash that have high dmg interrupt able spells.

Anonymous said...

"May 21, 2009 6:46 AM
Anonymous said...
rotation is FS > LB > LB > LB >LB > LB > FS

After all that stuff you spewed about hit cap increasing dps, you cant even get the rotation right."

I take it you consider lava burst useless then?

Kearo said...

Hey, great blog you've got here. Nice read as well. I also have a blog at Cheers!

Anonymous said...

What about when you are a level 70 should you stack for crits or haste

Anonymous said...

When your are under level 75, should stack for crtis or haste

Anonymous said...

Im I wasting my time using fire nova? I'll usually get my fire totem close to target, then back up and use fire nova in conjuction with lightning bolt, lava burst, and flame shock...

Anonymous said...

any suggestions about fire nova? Am I wasting my time using it? I'll usually place fire totem next to target and hit fire nova while using lightning bolt, lava burst, and flame shock.

Anonymous said...

one thing people tend to forget about the so-called "cookie-cutter" specs is, no matter how you spec your character, you can be certain that at the least, a couple hundred other people have their character spec'd the exact same way. so it doesn't matter if you use a spec off the internet or not, it's still going to be a "cookie-cutter" spec