Monday, 5 October 2009

Chain Lightning; Patch 3.3

I know what you are all thinking: How is the new totem models for Dwarves, Trolls and Orcs not the headline for this post? Thanks to MMO-Champion as always for the screenshots.

A bit over a week ago there was a conversation floating around the Damage Dealing forums regarding Chain Lightning. Due to the 3.2 change to Shamanism (that allowed it to now recieve the Spell Power benefits that previously only went to Lightning Bolt), Chain Lightning was made considerably more powerful even in single target situations. Binkenstein over at Elitist Jerks, who does a lot of theorycrafting and is generally seen as one of the major authorities in such issues, claimed that integrating CL into a single target rotation was now viable and the DPS increase was forseeably worth the additional mana. Liax, a well known figure amongst eles on the official forums presented this finding on the DD forum in this thread, questioning if this was intended or if it was an attempt at making CL a more competitive form of AoE that produced this as an unforeseen result. Ghostcrawler responded quickly but didn't seem to confront the issue comprehensively, basically claiming CL is not intended to be a single target spell but if it works for you then go for it. You can read the succinct version through MMO-Champ's Blue Tracker here, just including the two posts mentioned.

Now, I honestly haven't done the numbers to the level I am sure Bink has, but generally conclusions coming out of Bink and EJ's shaman forums are pretty reliable. I still use 4 set tier 8 so the effect will be a little less in my case, but what these results show and what GC was trying to express (at least how I am reading it) is that using CL sparingly is going to be a good thing, and a smart player will use CL to complete a rotation more smoothly in situations where due to moving or not a 'neat' amount of haste rating may not give you time to get a full LB cast off. Whether you choose to subscribe to the CL spamming every chance it is available is up to you, I haven't tested it to be able to verify Bink's claims. If any of you come to a conclusion feel free to post a comment and let us know.

The other news recently is the excitement building over patch 3.3, the release of Icecrown and what will probably be the last major patch of this expansion. It seems like it is going so fast, doesn't it? The PTRs are already in full swing and a few rounds of patch notes have already been released. Unsurprisingly, due to the large changes in 3.2.2 we are not getting a huge overhaul, but the primary change announced is interesting:

Fire Nova Totem: This totem has been replaced with a new spell, Fire Nova, which is available at the same ranks as the old Fire Nova Totem. Existing characters will automatically learn this new spell in place of the totem. With a Fire Totem active, shamans will be able to use Fire Nova (fire magic) to emit the same area-of-effect damage as the old Fire Nova Totem from the active Fire Totem, not consuming the totem in the process. Fire Nova will activate a 1.5-second global cooldown when used and has a 10-second spell cooldown. The caster must be within 30 yards of the totem to use this ability, but does not need to be within line of sight of the totem.

Those of us willing to spec for it in the elemental tree will also get:

Improved Fire Nova Totem: Renamed Improved Fire Nova. This talent now provides an additional 10/20% damage to the spell and reduces the cooldown by 2/4 seconds.

I am unsure of what this means for us. At the moment, I am only seeing it being useful in PvP or for enhancement specs. It still means we are limited to running in and out when wanting to AoE, but until the patch goes live it is tough to know the extent of its use.



  1. Depending on the AoE situation, you might be near the tank anyway. A lot of times we collapse on a tank when we know there's going to be a lot of adds coming that the tank needs to be pick up (such as Ony).

    The question is, would it be worth running in during situations when you're not already there? And if so, should it be talented (-4sec CD) and/or Glyphed (-3sec CD). The glyph seems like it isn't strong enough to replace what we already use, but the talent might be feasible.

  2. Speaking as a 25-man raider.
    CL in the rotation for me is an increase in DPS on a single target. not that great that I will give it prio to anything, but big enough to use it reguraly. at longer fight it will become a mana drain, but with TS(minor-glyphsed) on every cooldown you wont run oom.

    Fire nova is great, not only on trash but also on boss fights where you have 2 or more adds. you can pre-place your ToW to be near the boss. or run in to place it near the boss. Range AOE would have been better, but this is good enough. I would not glyphs for it. but speccing in it I will.

    with fire nova we will get a more complex rotation, (when there are adds) which is fun. remember that the firenova is an instant!!! this means we have more dmg when moving.

    now all we need is more dots.

  3. Currently on trash, Magma totem is a huge dps increase (I was able to pull 9k dps in Naxx in ilvl 200-213 mix).

    Add a nova explosion, no-pushback TS, and chain lightning instant cast now available to us, and if you needed to you could do a whole lot of hurt all by yourself.

  4. I've never been a spreadsheet guy, so when I read this, I resorted to my tried and true method of opening recount and whacking on the Heroic Training Dummy in IF. I performed both rotations to oom one after the other for about 30 minutes and there seemed to me to be a marginal difference at best. In fact, the old rotation (LvB/LB) seemed to reliably score at about 100 dps higher than my rotations performed with CL (hitting it every CD) Am I the only one coming back with these results? If so, what could be throwing me off?

  5. Taer, granted my shaman is still gearing in Ulduar, I do not yield much more dps when throwing CL in my rotation. I did the same and tested myself on the dummy and had the same results. My dps was slightly higher when sticking to LB instead of throwing in CL's - and of course, I was firing away for much longer.

    As for the fire nova, of course I am excited about a new aoe - but it seems as usuable as TS, which I barely use for dps. /shrug Guess I will have to wait and see.

  6. Fire Nova totem is a pretty significant nerf to PvP as we lost the stun, though I'm sure people will still find a use for it. It is a buff to enhancement DPS and probably has its uses for elemental.

  7. It is funny that a lot of you are reporting the same results about the chain lightning integration into your rotations. My limited testing in raid situations shows a similar trend. Plus I still get the electrified dot from the t8 4set, and having CL cut into that seems to be a downfall too.

    I think I am going to stick to using LB for the most part, but being less hesitant to throw a CL here and there to neaten up the rotation.


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