Elemental Shaman and Target Debuffs
I’m stepping back onto my personal pedestal of whining about the appalling state of some players UIs (and my constant mission of making them realise that often, these are hindering rather than helping them).
Target debuffs seems a pretty dull topic and probably not what most would consider, a vital part of their UI. However, how effectively you handle this aspect of your UI also dictates how quickly you can see if something important (and by important, I mean a debuff that directly affects your DPS) is missing.
Quite often you’ll find people customize their unit frames but then just turn on their chosen addon’s default debuffs. The result is a jumbled mess of every debuff placed on the boss. To avoid these taking over half their screen, they usually get squished together in a small box.
My question is this. How do you see the vital debuffs that affect your DPS in that mess? Do you know instantly whether or not something is missing that should be on the boss? I guess the answer in the case of this UI is either hope that everyone else is indeed doing their job or frantically try and hover over the debuffs to check.
What We Need to See
As elemental shamans, our basic role in the raid is to provide DPS. Sure we bring a couple of nice buffs to the equation and we have some nice utility, but if you strip that away you get back to our core responsibility being as caster DPS.
Keeping this in mind, consider carefully what target debuffs we need to see. A warlock’s immolate? How about their curse of doom? Not so critical are they? So why show them?
Let’s consider, therefore, what is relevant to us.
There are three key debuffs here that directly affect us.
Curse of Elements provided by demonology or affliction speced warlocks.
- Curse of the Ebonplague provided by unholy death knights
- Earth and Moon courtesy of the balance druids.
These three debuffs (which don’t stack by the way), all increase the magical damage that a target takes by 13%. That is a pretty large increase to our (and any other caster in the raid) DPS.
The above three debuffs all increase the critical strike chance on a target by 5% Improved shadow bolt is, again, courtesy of the demonology or affliction speced warlocks. Improved scorch comes from a fire mage (problematic these days as most mages spec arcane for personal DPS) and finally, winter’s chill is from the frost mages.
These debuffs don’t affect our DPS as enormously as the magical debuffs above, but 5% critical strike chance is still significant.
In terms of an elemental UI, many of us who still drop totem of wrath will already have a way to track this buff anyway so this category is less important in my opinion. Never the less, all three of the above listed effects increase critical strike rating by an additional 3%.
In the final category are the target debuffs that when applied, grant us with more hit rating. These two debuffs are crucial when you consider most casters balance their hit rating around exactly what their raid composition is. Given that assumption, when one of these is missing that should be catered for, we are potentially 3% under hit cap.
- Improved Faerie Fire – balanced spec druids
- Misery – shadow priests
The above categories show which debuffs are pertinent to elemental shamans. While there appears to be a lot here, consider that many don’t stack. Due to this, you won’t see all the debuffs up at once anyway. For example, if you have a death knight providing ebon plague, you probably won’t see a warlock casting curse of elements, they are better off using curse of agony or curse of doom for their own DPS. Equally if you have a warlock providing improved shadow bolt, why force a mage to scorch? The management of debuffs to ensure they aren’t “overlapping” is a different issue all together but should be managed by your raid as a whole.
There are two ways to manage these crucial debuffs. One is through specific addons designed to track the debuffs you tell it to. An example used to be an addon called Demon Debuffs which would light up green dots when the presence of one of the above “types” was on a boss. Secondly, you can use an addon to configure what debuffs can be shown on a target, rather than just showing all by default.
My preference is for the second option and setting this up is a fairly straight forward procedure. The addon I specifically use to manage my target’s debuffs (infact all buffs and debuffs), is Satrina Buff Frames. Incidentally, for the people raiding with ForteXorcist already, you can also add spells such as Improved Scorch, Improved Shadow Bolt, Ebon Plague and so on to the spell timers. (See my ForteXorcist section for a guide on this). But beware, if you try and track all potential debuffs in this manner plus your own spell durations, you can end up with a spell timer window that is huge.
Due to the fact Satrina Buff Frames can take some setting up to get it showing exactly what you want to see, instructions for that will be in their own section.