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Cataclysm Talent Preview: Elemental shaman

Matt Low

Contrary to popular belief, I'm not exactly a healer all the time. I have an elemental shaman of my own when I'm in the mood to simply blow up stuff. Speaking of Lightning Bolt-tossing shamans, there has been some new information released regarding elemental talents. If you haven't seen it yet, there's also additional information about druids, rogues, and priests, too. Shall we take a look?

The first four tiers did not receive any heavy changes. It isn't until the fifth tier of talents that we start seeing some rearranging and collapsing of talents.

Elemental Mastery
(1 rank available; Requires 1 point in Elemental Focus; 3 min cooldown)
When activated, your next Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning or Lava Burst spell becomes an instant cast spell. In addition, you gain 15% spell haste for 15 seconds. Elemental Mastery shares a cooldown with Nature's Swiftness.
Elemental Mastery got moved up. It looks like it'll be accessible around level 31 for shamans. Good change, as it'll give shaman additional time in earlier levels to work Elemental Mastery in their rotation. Even at level 80, I still forget to use it.
Elemental Oath
(2 ranks available; Requires 1 point in Elemental Mastery)
While Clearcasting from Elemental Focus is active, you deal 5/10% more spell damage. In addition, party and raid members within 100 yards receive a 3/5% bonus to their critical strike chance.
Elemental Oath has been moved up one tier. It effectively replaces the slot where Elemental Mastery once was. Mechanically, it hasn't really changed, but I think this is one of those passive talents that will get some kind of revamp (or get the axe altogether).
Wrathful Totems (1 rank available)
Causes your Fire totems to increase the spell power of your party and raid members within 100 yards by 10%.
This is the Totem of Wrath talent in a completely new form. The new format of Wrathful Totems will increase spellpower of players in your party or raid by an additional 10%. Hooray for scaling! The old Totem of Wrath only provided a static 250 spellpower buff. It used to be awesome when raids were steadily progressing through Naxxramas, but it didn't scale.
(1 rank available; 20149 Mana, 35 yd range, 1.5 sec cast, 15 sec cooldown)
You cause the earth at the target location to tremble and break, dealing 267 Physical damage every 1 second to enemies within a 10-yard radius, with a 40% chance of knocking down affected targets. Lasts 10 seconds.
What's up, Earthquake? It'll be nice to have another AoE-type spell. Thunderstorm, Chain Lightning, Magma Totem and Fire Nova just weren't good enough. I'm curious if "mob state" will be taken into account. Would a mob that's hovering or flying get affected by this spell? I can definitely see both offensive and defensive uses for this spell. Are your healers getting blasted by other players in a battleground? Unload Earthquake around them and pray for some knockdowns or stuns so that they can get clear of any pursuing enemies. Or use it offensively to try to snag and finish off any stragglers who are running away from you and your allies.
Acute Overload
(3 ranks available)
Increases the damage dealt by your Elemental Overload spells by 7/14/20%.
This replaces Lightning Overload. Instead of just Lightning Bolt and Chain Lightning getting activated again, we could be seeing a free Lava Burst thrown in. There's been no sign of Elemental Overload that I've been able to see, so I'm not sure on the exact details yet.
Lava Surge
(3 ranks available)
Gives your Flame Shock periodic damage ticks a 10/20/30% chance to reset the cooldown of your Lava Burst spell.
Here is another fun talent that doesn't seem quite fun at first glance. A 30% chance to reset Lava Burst? Yes, please! I'm a terrible shaman when it comes to remembering to refresh Flame Shock. One would think that this would give me an added incentive to keep Flame Shock active. What I'm curious about is if there's any internal cooldown on the rate of refresh. I could throw multiple Flame Shocks out on trash pulls or bosses that have extra mobs to increase the chance of Lava Burst resetting, in theory. Would there be a limit at the rate of how often Lava Burst could reset? I honestly have no idea, but I expect there would be. Heck, just thinking about PvPing for a second, one could conceivably light up Lava Burst repeatedly.

Yeah, it would be a little overpowered. One can dream, though!

Just a quick note and reminder that this information could change at any time. It's not final in any form. Some of these talents might be merged or abandoned altogether. But assuming some of these changes stick into the final version, what are your thoughts so far?

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm will destroy Azeroth as we know it. Nothing will be the same. In's Guide to Cataclysm, you can find out everything you need to know about WoW's third expansion. From goblins and worgens to mastery and guild changes, it's all there for your cataclysmic enjoyment.

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