Monday, 10 September 2012


What is going on with Elemental Shaman? Last week The Grumpy Elf wrote a post entitled How Much is too Much? The general gist was that we now have too many buttons to press, and a later article by Grumpy suggests that the amount of difference by not pressing some of them is not worth the added complexity to the rotations.

I have 20+ spells for damage dealing and utility on my BM hunter, when I went through the offensive skills for Shaman it did not even fill a complete bar. Now I normally only use my Shaman for healing, but in preparation for MoP I needed to make sure that I am good to go with a damage dealing spec.

  1. Lightning Bolt
  2. Earth Shock
  3. Flame Shock
  4. Lava Burst
  5. Chain Lightning
  6. Earthquake
  7. Frost Shock
Compare that with BM Hunter

  1. Cobra Shot
  2. Arcane Shot
  3. Kill Command
  4. Dire Beast
  5. Lynx Rush
  6. Bestial Wrath
  7. Readiness
  8. Focus Fire
  9. Serpent Sting
  10. Rapid Fire
  11. Kill Shot
Macro managing a pet, traps and keeping the Focus regeneration going by weaving in Cobra Shot/Steady Shot the two just do not compete. The Shaman can change the totems around to bring out the elementals and hex for crowd control. Speaking of totems what on earth have they done to them. No more bulk planting totems, this would appear to be a step backwards, in both development and historical terms.

At this stage it felt like a good time to compare a few specs to see how complex the rotation and priorities are. I am going to use the guides set by Icy Veins as they have a history of producing good guides. For the sake of simplicity I am only comparing single target rotations.

Beast Master Hunter

1. Apply Hunter's Mark on the target.
2. Apply and maintain Serpent Sting to the target
  • it will be refreshed by Cobra Shot so it only needs to be done once, normally.
3. Cast Kill Command on cooldown.
4. Cast Kill Shot (only available below 20% health).
5. Cast Focus Fire when your pet's Frenzy reaches 5 stacks (the icon will glow)
  • do not cast Focus Fire if you are about to use Bestial Wrath(see below)
  • Currently on the Beta, the DPS difference between using Focus Fire wisely and not using it at all (i.e., having your pet have 5 stacks of Frenzy at all times) is practically non-existent.
6. Cast Arcane Shot to dump any excess focus.
7. Cast Cobra Shot.

(6 spells, Hunter's Mark can be Glyphed or applied before the fight)



• Bestial Wrath, Rapid Fire, Dire Beast, Lynx Rush, and Stampede should be used as many times as possible during the encounter. Stacking these cooldowns is not beneficial, and stacking Bestial Wrath and Rapid Fire is actually detrimental.
 • Rabid (an ability your pet gains if you choose the Ferocity specialisation) should be used as many times as possible during the encounter. You should try to stack this ability with Lynx Rush, Bestial Wrath, or Rapid Fire whenever possible.
 • Glaive Toss should be used on cooldown.
 • Readiness should be used immediately after using Bestial Wrath, Rapid Fire, Lynx Rush, and Dire Beast, in order to reset their cooldown.

(7 Cooldowns)

Elemental Shaman

1. Keep Flame Shock up on the target. Refresh when there are 3 seconds or less left.
2. Cast Lava Burst on cooldown◦watch out for its cooldown being reset by procs of Lava Surge.
3. Cast Earth Shock when you have between 5 and 7 charges of Lightning Shield.

4. Keep Searing Totem up.
5. Cast Lightning Bolt as a filler.

If you chose Unleashed Fury as your Tier 6 talent, then using Unleash Elements on cooldown becomes your highest priority.
If you chose Elemental Blast as your Tier 6 talent, then using it on cooldown becomes your highest priority.

(5 Spells - Lightning shield and Flametongue Weapon should always be present and are not part of the rotation)


• Ascendance is your Mists of Pandaria ability. This ability causes your Lava Burst to no longer have a cooldown and your Chain Lightning to become Lava Beam, a more powerful AoE ability. Ascendance has a 3-minute cooldown and should be used whenever it is available. You can also save it to line it up with periods during which you deal increased damage.◦For single-target damage, simply spam Lava Burst and do not let Flame Shock drop, while Ascendance is active.
◦For AoE damage, spam Lava Beam while Ascendance is active.

 • Fire Elemental Totem and Earth Elemental Totem are important DPS cooldowns (especially the former, which is by far the most powerful), they should be used whenever your Elementals will be able to attack the boss for 1 minute without being interrupted (unless you are using Glyph of Fire Elemental Totem or you chose Totemic Restoration as you Tier 3 talent). The Elementals will adjust to your statistics over the course of their duration. As such, it often is a good idea to cast them when you expect to receive an Intellect or a Haste buff, for example.
 • Spiritwalker's Grace should be used when you need to move, so that you can keep casting. If you are using Glyph of Unleashed Lightning, you will find yourself using this ability a lot less often.

 • Thunderstorm is both◦an AoE DPS cooldown, which you should always use when you have 6 or more enemies to attack and;
◦a mana management tool, which you should use on cooldown if you are having mana issues (most likely from spamming Chain Lightning).

 • Stormlash Totem is a raid-wide DPS cooldown that causes every players within 30 yards of the totem to deal additional Nature damage for 10 seconds. Use it when the raid will deal increased damage (while Heroism / Bloodlust / Time Warp is active, for example).
(6 Cooldowns)


Although there is one 1 less spell and 1 less cooldown. Elemental seems to have a far easier rotation, Totems, Shields and Weapon buffs are standard fare and as such are not part of the rotation. BM Hunters also have the added complexity of managing a pet. The feeling is that Mages and Balance Druids will also have easier rotations making Hunters more difficult to play and according to most theorycrafters (not including Blizzard) that Hunters will be bottom of the pile.


  1. They seem to just be adding as much as they can to make it seem like you are doing more when other classes, like my mage, I can do 30K (therotically in mists at 90) more DPS than my hunter with only 4 buttons (the three arcane and living bomb) and two cooldowns (power and gem).

    Mages are what all specs should be thinking, not hunters. Even the set it and forget it nature of hunters mark with the glyph now only removes one thing and the one thing it removed was the one easy thing we did before the fight even started, so how much is that really saving us?

    Not sure what they have in mind other than not wanting people to play hunters.

  2. The addition of the applied Hunter's Mark is great for me. I discovered it recently when I specced for Marksman. Obviously it make no difference for Tank and Spank bosses, but is great for adds that last more than a few seconds.

    I am amazed at how Blizzard is unable to make similar complexity rotations for all the classes. They should have a clear benchmark at each iLevel what all classes should be able to achieve and they should be balanced for full Tier sets. All classes seem to scale differently and Blizzard seems unable to adjust the controls (Mastery) to achieve their goals. I have thought for a long time that Blizzard wants everybody to play only Druids and Paladins, and now Monks.

    Have fun with that game.