When 5.0 launches, you’ll be introduced to the new talent tier system. Instead of being given a talent every other level and you put that point into a talent, you will get a choice of 3 talents at levels 15, 30, 45, 60, 75 and 90. This doesn’t mean that the abilities that you would’ve previously gotten are gone entirely. Instead you’ll get them automatically as you level up as per the spec that you are in. So instead of having to spend 5 talents to be able to get Elemental Precision, you’ll get it right away at level 10. As an aside, you’ll also no longer have to go back to town to train. As soon as you level you’ll be given the new spells and abilities right away to use.
This is what you will see when you log in after 5.0 launches
As you can see each tier talent revolves around a certain theme. So, let’s break them down!
Tier 1 – Level 15
The first tier of talents that you get are based on defensive or survivability cooldowns.
Nature’s Guardian< – Whenever a damaging attack brings you below 30% health, your maximum health is increased by 25% for 10 sec, and your threat level towards the attacker is reduced. This effect cannot occur more often than once every 30 sec.
Stone Bulwark Totem – Summons an Earth Totem with 5 health at the feet of the caster for 30 sec that grants the caster a shield absorbing 393 damage, and up to an additional 131 every 5 sec thereafter.
Astral Shift – Seek haven by shifting partially into the elemental planes, reducing damage taken by 40% for 6 sec.
Nature's Guardian is exactly like the Restoration talent that currently exists, Stone Bulwark Totem is basically glyphed Stoneclaw Totem, and Astral Shift is an on-demand damage reduction cooldown.
One thing you’ll notice as we keep going through these talents is a lot of them are preferential. Some may sway in favor of a PvP’er vs. a PvE’er but in general the choices are entirely up to you. For example in this tier, Nature’s Guardian is to me a PvP talent more so than a PvE talent but either of those options can fit that niche. My personal choice for this tier would have to go to Astral Shift. Having an on-demand defensive cooldown is exactly what we needed.
Tier 2 – Level 30
The second tier of talents is about rooting or, freedom from roots!
Frozen Power – Your Frost Shock now also roots the target in ice for 5 sec.
Earthgrab Totem – Summons an Earth Totem with 100 health at the feet of the caster for 20 sec. The totem pulses every 2 sec, causing roots to ensnare the legs of all enemies within 10 yards for 5 sec, preventing movement. Enemies that have already been rooted once by the totem will instead have their movement speed reduced by 50%. Replaces Earthbind Totem.
Windwalk Totem – Summons an Air Totem with 5 health at the feet of the caster for 6 sec, granting raid members within 40 yards immunity to movement-impairing effects.
The first two are slight alterations on existing talents. Frozen Power currently exists in the Enhancement Tree but it more revolved around using Frostbrand Weapon, and had a range requirement on the root; the target had to be 15 yards away. Now you just use Frost Shock and the target is rooted.
Earthgrab Totem will completely replace Earthbind Totem. The way that the talent is completely implemented with Earth’s Grasp really has no change. Once a target has been rooted by the totem it won’t be rooted again just slowed by 50%.
Windwalk Totem is the opposite of a root/snare – it grants immunity to them! The fact that it’s raid wide is pretty awesome.
All three of these talents are more focused for PvP. It’s possible that some of these will provide a benefit to PvE in certain situations though. I’m not sure which one I would personally take – but I would lean towards Earthgrab Totem or Windwalk Totem.
Tier 3 – Level 45
The third tier is all totem related.
Call of the Elements – When activated, immediately finishes the cooldown of all totems with a base cooldown shorter than 3 minutes.
Totemic Restoration – When a totem is replaced or destroyed before its duration expires naturally, its cooldown is reduced in proportion to the lost duration, up to a maximum of 50% of the full cooldown.
Totemic Projection – Relocates your active totems to the specified location
I’m not sure which one I would take there. There aren’t many “useful” totems that have a cooldown of less than 3 minutes as an Elemental Shaman that you would be concerned about (i.e. Stormlash Totem or Fire Elemental Totem). Totemic Restoration or Totemic Project would probably be the best options. Totemic Restoration definitely is great in a PvP environment, as would Totemic Projection. But in most PvE situations if the raid has to move a lot and you leash a totem like the Fire Elemental, than Totemic Projection is probably a better choice.
Tier 4 – Level 60
Here we have some DPS related talents, much more exciting than the previous tiers!
Elemental Mastery – Call upon Elemental forces, empowering you with 30% haste for the next 20 seconds. (2 minute cooldown)
Ancestral Swiftness – Your next nature spell with a base cast time of less than 10 secs. becomes an instant cast (1 minute cooldown). Passive: Increases your spell and melee haste by 5%.
Echo of Elements – When one of your spells causes direct damage or healing, you have a chance to gain Echo of Elements, duplicating the spell’s effect.
Alright, so these are all pretty cool talents and each one provides something a little different and could be a tough choice. Elemental Mastery is like it is currently, except on a 2 minute cooldown. It also doesn’t get the cooldown reduces when we deal damage with Lightning Bolt or Chain Lightning. That’s fine, 2 minutes is a good cooldown time.
Ancestral Swiftness is basically Nature’s Swiftness but also a passive +5% haste increase. I look at this one more for healers though I wouldn’t take it as resto. The 5% passive haste is great, and having an “Oh shit” button that gives you an instant cast is always great as a healer. But Elemental Mastery still would be better for most situations.
Echo of Elements is an interesting talent. It’s basically the proc from Dragonwrath, Tarecgosa’s Rest. So you would think that this would be a good talent to take. I’d give it a shot, however the downside is that let’s say you’re entering a burn phase – you can’t rely on this to proc as necessary. It has a very short internal cooldown so it can proc a fair amount if you get lucky.
The good thing about the new talent system is that you’re able to change the individual talents on the fly (outside of combat, of course). This means that if you want to change a talent, you can just change that one, you don’t have to re-pick each of the talents that you previously had chosen.
If you find that you need to burn harder on a certain phase for a boss you may opt to take Elemental Mastery. But if you’re good with putting out more consistent damage throughout a fight, then Echo of Elements can be used instead.
Tier 5 – Level 75
Tier 5 gives Elemental Shaman some healing utility. The talents you have a choice of at level 75 are all healing related.
Healing Tide Totem – Summons a Water Totem with 10% of the caster’s health at the feet of the caster for (11 sec) sec. The Healing Tide Totem pulses every 2 sec, healing the 5 most injured party or raid members within 40 yards for 4932 (+ 48.4% of SpellPower). (3 minute cooldown)
Ancestral Guidance – When you deal direct damage or healing for the next 10 sec, 40% of that amount is copied as healing to up to 3 nearby injured party or raid members. (2 minute cooldown)
Conductivity – When you cast Healing Wave, Greater Healing Wave, or Healing Surge on a target located within your Healing Rain, allies within the Healing Rain share healing equal to 20% of the initial healing done.
If your Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning, Earth Shock, or Stormstrike damages an enemy standing in your Healing Rain, allies within the Healing Rain share healing equal to 50% of the initial damage done.
Immediately, I’d cut out conductivity. Typically you wouldn’t be putting down Healing Rain enough to make this a worthwhile talent. While there are occasions that I do put down a Healing Rain I don’t do it enough to cover the potential of the other talents.
Healing Tide Totem is basically a mini-Tranquility for Shaman. It sounds good on paper and a viable choice, as an Elemental Shaman, your better choice would be Ancestral Guidance. Every 2 minutes you’re able to use it, and when you use it, 40% of the damage dealt by your spells will heal 3 nearby injured party or raid members. That’s a great cooldown to use if there is going to be raid wide damage going out, it doesn’t interrupt your DPS at all as you simply pop the cooldown and continue DPSing as normal. Though Healing Tide Totem will basically do the same thing, the damage of raw damage that you’re able to put out over the 10 seconds will generally be greater than what Healing Tide Totem will heal for.
Tier 6 – Level 90
Here are more DPS related cooldowns. These are all interesting options.
Unleashed Fury – Your elemental weapon imbues are empowered, granting additional effects when triggered with Unleash Weapon: Flametongue Weapon – Increases the enemy target’s damage taken from your Lightning Bolt by 30% for 10 sec. (Note: it affects the other weapon imbues but Elemental only uses Flametongue)
Primal Elementalist – Your Earth and Fire Elemental Totems draw forth powerful primal elementals directly from the elemental planes. These servitors are 50% more powerful than regular elementals, act as pets directly under your control, and gain additional abilities.
Elemental Blast – Harness and direct the raw power of the elements towards an enemy target, dealing 4372 to 5079 (+ 211.2% of SpellPower) Elemental damage and increasing the caster’s Critical Strike, Haste, or Mastery by 3500 for 8 sec. (12 second cooldown)
Tough choice here, for sure.
The Unleashed Fury talent is great because it gives you more damage from our main spell – Lightning Bolt and it means we get to throw Unleash Weapon into our rotation for once. This means we change our rotation slightly to include Unleash Weapon off of every cooldown rather than, well, never using it! A very viable option. It used to include Lava Burst, which would’ve been great with the changed Lava Surge, but it now is only for Lightning Bolt.
Prime Elementalist changes the way that your Greater Fire and Earth Elementals work. Before you get excited – they are still tied to a totem.
The Earth Elemental makes a bit more tanky and gives you some damage reduction:
Harden Skin – The caster’s skin hardens into pure granite, reducing all damage taken by 40% for 10 sec.
Pulverize – Smashes an enemy with a rocky fist, dealing 150% of the damage of a normal attack, and stunning the target for 4 sec.
Reinforce – Surrounds the elemental’s creator with an earthen shield, reducing all damage taken by 20%, and increasing healing done by 10%, while the channel continues.
So really all you get out of it is Reinforce, which gives you another damage reduction but gives you 10% increased healing. Note that it’s a channeled spell so it doesn’t do anything while it does that. It has a 10 second cooldown. So obviously, the Earth Elemental doesn’t really do much for an Elemental Shaman.
The Fire Elemental is tailored more towards an Elemental Shaman. It gets 2 new abilities:
Empower – Empowers the elemental’s creator with fiery energy, increasing all damage dealt by 5%, and healing done by 10%, while the channel continues.
Immolate – Burns an enemy, then inflicts additional Fire damage every 3 sec. for 21 sec.
Empower is like Reinforce from the Earth Elemental except it doesn’t give a damage reduction but increases all damage dealt by 5%. Immolate is just another damaging ability that it can do.
So basically while the Fire Elemental is up you can get a 5% damage increase while it channels that spell. Unfortunately, there’s no cast time indicated on Wowhead and I’m not level 90 on the beta so I can’t tell you how long it channels for; if it’s for the whole 10 seconds and it just keeps channeling to you the entire time it’s up.
So Prime Elementalist looks like a pretty appealing talent overall as it increases the damage done by the Fire Elemental and/or you!
Lastly, Elemental Blast. This is another DPS cooldown that has a 2 second cast time. It does damage but it has the added affect of increasing your Crit, Haste or Mastery for 8 seconds. The RNG aspect of it increasing your Crit kind of sways one from picking this, but having an increase to Haste or Mastery is never, ever a bad thing.
If you’ve read my blog, you know that I am not for mathing things out, so each of these options are hugely viable.
Personally, I will be taking Unleashed Weapon. A 30% increase to Lighting Bolt damage for 10 seconds on an ability that has a 15 second cooldown is just too appealing to me. I could see myself taking either of those talents though at some point.
The good thing about the new talent tree is that, aside from 1 or 2 talent tiers for any class is that they’re largely up to you and how you prefer to play. They’re mostly for utility which means that it’s your personal preference. If you want more of a passive ability than a cooldown, than you can go that route.
Of course, as I’ve shown above for Elemental Shaman there are two talent tiers (60 and 90) where your DPS can be affected depending how you choose and take advantage of those talent choices.