More math. – Elitist Jerks
Should Enhancement Shaman respect to fully take advantage of Fire Nova in Patch 3.3? Lots of people on the official forums are asking this question, and if the ongoing discussion is any indication, quite a few players are still haven’t found an answer that satisfies them.
The main change is Fire Nova, our new insta-cast AoE spell. Fire Nova is no longer a totem, but casting it requires an active Fire totem on the ground. So for Enhancement Shamans, the biggest appeal will be stacking Magma Totem with the Fire Nova spell, which will in effect let us stack one stationary, weak AoE with a more mobile and more-powerful AoE.
Having tested out the new Fire Nova spell in Icecrown Citadel tonight, I found it didn’t put nearly as much of a strain on my mana pool as it did in five-mans (thanks to raid buffs), and it contributed a significant portion of my DPS, often swapping with Flametongue Attack to take the third- or fourth-place among my top-DPS abilities.
The question, for Enhancement Shaman who want to respec in Patch 3.3, is this — is it worth dropping two talent points from other abilities in order to get Improved Fire Nova?
The good news for players who are leaning this way is that while Improved Fire Nova is on the Elemental tree’s fourth tier, you don’t have to waste any valuable talent points to get to that tier if you’re specced correctly in the first place. With five points in Concussion, three in Elemental Devastation, three in Call of Flame, and five in Elemental Fury, you’ll already have the 15 talent points in that tree needed to reach Improved Fire Nova.
For players who decide to spend two talent points to get Improved Fire Nova, finding those extra points is going to be painful. Improved Stormstrike is a necessity, because at 907 mana, Fire Nova will drain in excess of 9k mana per minute if you’re using it on every cooldown. Although that lines up perfectly with Shamanistic Rage, raid situations often lead to significant time off-target — we’ve all been in situations where we’ve had to run away from an AoE cast as soon as we’ve activated Shamanistic Rage. One minute without mana is an eternity in a raid, especially for a spec that uses mana for every one of its active attacks.
Talents like Mental Quickness, Static Shock and Mental Dexterity are too crucial to shave off talent points from, and almost everything else is non-negotiable. If you’ve got two points in Improved Windfury (and not many Enhancement Shamans do), that’s probably the best spot to steal two talent points.
If not, you’re really only left with one option — take the two talent points from Improved Shields.
As to whether the talented damage bonus to Fire Nova equals — or surpasses — the damage bonuses to Lightning Shield, that’s a question I can’t answer right now.. A definitive answer would ultimately include simulations, which are based on an individual player’s statistics. And any real analysis would take into account the reduced cooldown from Glyph of Fire Nova, its impact on DPS, and whether the glyph alone justifies removing another glyph.
Others are taking that route, but I’m going to hold off at least until I can reserve some time with raid buffs and a target dummy in Orgrimmar. Fire Nova looks like the more attractive option, but I have to see the pure numbers in a single-target situation, over a sustained fight. Failing that, I’m sure it won’t be long before the mathematicians over at Elitist Jerks work the percentages out.
The main thread on Fire Nova/Enhancement over at EJ is already 11 pages long, but can be summed up by one comment: “More math.”
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