1. What is Elemental?
Elemental is the ranged DPS tree available to the shaman class. You deal damage from afar with Nature and Fire spells.
2. Elemental benefits
3. Elemental drawbacks
- A simple rotation and easy mechanics.
- Damage increases dramatically once you acquire Lava Burst, making you competent DPS immediately at 80.
- Lots of buffs to nearly every class/spec you could party with.
- Little mystery in gear upgrades.
4. Stats to look for
- A boring rotation. Very little to watch for or keep track of.
- Your damage doesn't scale as well with increasingly powerful gear compared to other classes/specs after the initial boost from Lava Burst. You'll notice.
- Few "unique" buffs and many buffs that are trivialized by ones provided by other classes.
- Highly specialized gear means it's harder to find from bosses -- and Blizzard doesn't provide much emblem gear suitable for Elemental, either.
- Elemental has few worthwhile instant-cast spells or DoTs, making them ineffective in any fight that involves moving around.
Besides the ever-present intelligence and stamina, which will be on all the gear you want anyway, you'll be looking for four main stats:
- Spell power. Obviously, you want a lot of it. More spell power equals more damage.
- Haste. Haste does two important things: increases your spellcasting speed, allowing you to fit more spells into your rotation in between cooldowns; and decreases your global cooldown down to a minimum of one second, allowing you to cast more spells in shorter periods of time.
- Crit rating. Besides the obvious factor of making more of your spells critical strikes, crit rating also helps keep important Elemental talents, such as Clearcasting and Elemental Oath, active.
- Hit rating. Elemental shaman should focus on hitting the spell hit cap as soon as possible. You want a total of 14 percent or 368 rating if you're anything but a draenei, who need 13% or 342 rating. Remember: After you hit 14%, hit is 100% useless.
In terms of priority, it's: Hit (until capped), spell power, haste, then crit.
5. Stats to avoid
Just as important as what to look for is what not to look for.
- Spirit. This is not a "shaman stat." None of the shaman specs, Elemental included, have talents that give us extra benefits from spirit and, quite frankly, our built-in mana regen is plenty.
- MP/5. While it's a good stat for Restoration, Elemental doesn't need it. Avoid it.
There are exceptions to these rules, mind you -- many of the first available post-80 badge rings have some useful stats (SP, haste/crit) but also have spirit on them. If they're the best you can get or afford, it's okay to have gear with a little bit of spirit or mp5 as a stopgap until you can get something better.