Now that patch 8.3 is live, we’ve got a bunch of updates to many different sections on Storm, Earth, & Lava.
First thing’s first: Blizzard’s official patch notes are a great source of information about the patch. While we’ll cover some of the key points for Elemental Shaman in this post and throughout the site, Blizzard’s own posts are worth reading to catch some of the finer details we won’t cover.
- Not much has changed for Elemental Shaman in this patch.
- The raid azerite from Nya’lotha is pretty good this time around.
- A couple of the new essences might see play as minor essences for us.
- The tuning changes to existing essences really didn’t change much for us.
- Corrupted gear balance seems a bit rough right now, but hopefully you luck your way into some Infinite Stars traits.
- The Mythic Plus guide has been updated to reflect the current meta, as well as to add tips for the two new dungeons in this patch for Operation: Mechagon’s Junkyard and Workshop.
- The Priority List guide has been updated to reflect some APL optimizations (these are in simc as well).
- The various itemization sections have been updated with fresh data from Bloodmallet. It’s worth noting that Infinite Stars has inflated the value of many stat buff traits and essences, so some of this data may be a bit misleading in practice if you don’t have gear with the rank 3 Infinite Stars corruption.
- An updated raid guide for Nya’lotha is coming Soon(TM).
Our thoughts on this change:
- This is a minor nerf for PvP builds not using Master of the Elements, but a buff to those using it. Since neither Storm Elemental or Liquid Magma Totem really see play in a PvP setting, this is a positive change.
- While we don’t use Conflict and Strife as a major essence in PvE, for those of you questing in War Mode, this makes Lightning Lasso even better.
There was additionally an attempt to make a quality of change to our Primal Elementalist elementals to make them have independent auto-cast settings. Unfortunately, Blizzard had to temporarily revert this change but it should hopefully be coming back in a later hotfix/patch.
Blizzard has introduced one new Azerite trait for all classes that is featured on armor that comes from assaults, BFA Season 4 PvP, and Nya’lotha: Heart of Darkness. It’s a little undertuned at the moment, but is a decent alternative to some of Elemental’s weaker trait options.
The Azerite pieces found in the Nya’lotha raid all feature Igneous Potential, with several also allowing it to be paired with Natural Harmony and/or Lava Shock. This is great news for us, as we should be able to easily construct a good set of Azerite armor from the raid itself. It’s worth noting that two of our armor pieces come off of the final two bosses of the instance, and thus are 10 item levels higher.
Along with a new minor essence slot unlocked at Heart of Azeroth level 75, Blizzard has introduced several new essences for this patch:
- Breath of the Dying - This essence has a very strong minor essence effect in primarily single target encounters, largely based on its increased proc rates when the target is below 20% HP. This will likely be a popular choice for a minor essence slot for raid progression. You’ll get rank 1 of this essence fairly early on in the 8.3 quest chain, with rank 2 coming from weekly lockout content over 3 weeks, and rank 3 coming from reputation.
- The Formless Void - This essence is fairly weak for DPS specializations. As a major essence, there’s little incentive to copy a healer or tank essence, and you have direct access to any of the existing DPS essences already. As a minor, the haste buff isn’t very significant when you consider how often major essences actually get used to proc the effect. This essence comes from the raid.
- Spark of Inspiration - This essence has some potential to be interesting, both as a major and a minor. It’s possible that on some encounters, having someone sacrifice a bit of their own damage in order to buff the raid damage of burst essences like Essence of the Focusing Iris could be worthwhile. As a minor essence, the cooldown reduction could be significant enough in some content to merit use in raids or dungeons with major essences, like Blood of the Enemy and Essence of the Focusing Iris.
In addition to the new 8.3 essences, Blizzard has made a couple changes to existing essences:
- Condensed Life-Force - The damage increase on the Azerite Spikes effect has been reduced from 5% to 3%. This ends up being a small nerf, but this essence is still competitive for the major essence slot.
- Worldvein Resonance - The major essence ability received a significant buff, making this major on-par with an intellect potion available once per minute, finally making it competitive with other options in the major slot.
- Vision of Perfection - The proc rate of the major essence effect has been increased by 12%. This is a small buff despite this, as the proc rate was somewhat low. The best math around this shows that for every 10 procs of the major in patch 8.2, you would have had 11 procs in patch 8.3.
Season 4 gear can corrupt to add additional effects. Check out bloodmallet.com so you can see just how far ahead of everything else Infinite Stars is. Some of the other ones are okay too.
Horrific Visions are a new bit of content in patch 8.3 that are the only means of upgrading our new legendary cloak Ashjra’kamas, Shroud of Resolve.
Method has created a great guide that covers this new system (based largely on PTR, but mostly accurate for Live):
Assaults, Rajani, Uldum Accord, etc.
Patch 8.3 introduces new assaults in two older zones: Uldum and Vale of Eternal Blossoms. The introductory quest line for 8.3 will take you through both zones and introduce you to the new factions for this patch: the Rajani and the Uldum Accord. These factions offer strong rewards at Exalted.
The best way to reach Exalted is the same way you’ll earn Coalescing Visions for your Horrific Visions: complete the daily quests and any other quest chains in Uldum and Vale of Eternal Blossoms each day. Note that on the mid-point of the week (Friday at 7pm PST for NA realms), the new minor assault will spawn and comes with its own set of dailies, so you can “double dip” on that day in the minor assault zone.