Chain Lightning will now deal the same damage to subsequent targets as it does to the first.
- Stronger AoE for elemental shamans and better cleaves for enhancement? I'll take it!
Lava Beam's damage now increases with jumps. Each jump increases the damage by 10%.
- Lava Beam is Chain Lightning for elemental shaman in their Ascendance form. Stronger AoE for them? I approve.
Shamanistic Rage is now available to Elemental Shamans as well as Enhancement Shamans.
- Giving another survivability tool to our elemental brothers and sisters is a good thing. I know when I was specced elemental on my second shaman, I was always looking for this cooldown! Glad to see both DPS specs with this ability now.
Flame Shock's duration has been increased by 25%.
- In 5.1 we needed to use Glyph of Flame Shock in order to extend FS's duration by 25% at the cost of some initial damage. With this glyph being reworked (see Glyphs below) Blizz has decided to make the extended duration a permanent thing. An excellent change, in my opinion.
Lava Burst base damage has been reduced by 33% but now always deals a critical strike. When cast on targets affected by Flame Shock, it now deals 50% more damage.
- Another tweak aimed at our elemental brothers and sisters. It's nice to see Lava Burst always crit now, and perhaps the increase in damage will help bring their over all damage up a bit. Not completely sure on the math on that one though, so be sure to check on the theorycrafting work done by Binkenstein and friends over on Totem Spot.
When summoned, the Stone Bulwark Totem has health equal to 10% of the casting Shaman's health.
- This was mainly a PvP buff to make it so that players couldn't simply 1-shot our shielding totem.
The talent Nature's Guardian now preserves the player's health percentage when its maximum health boosting effect expires.
- This talent increases your health pool. Originally when this was implemented, if you were at say, 97% health when the buff expired, your health percentage would drop. Now when the buff from this talent expires, your health will remain at the example health of 97%.
Stone Bulwark Totem now absorbs 25% more damage.
- More absorbs mean less damage taken! This is a decent little buff from both PvE and PvP perspectives.
The talent Totemic Restoration now has an additional effect. Any totems that have been destroyed or replaced behave as if the totem had been active for at least 1 second.
- You got me. I'm assuming that this is an adjustment or fix for some sort of unintended behavior from replacing totems too quickly (fat fingering something and instantly replacing it with another totem of another school perhaps, not resetting the original totem as intended?), but as to what that is specifically, I'm unsure.
Elemental Mastery now has a 90-second cooldown (was 2 minutes).
- This change actually makes Elemental Mastery attractive to enhancement in certain situations. By lowering the cooldown to 90 seconds, we can line up every other EM usage with Ascendance, creating some delicious burst situations.
Ancestral Swiftness now increases spell haste by 5% and melee haste by 10% (was 5%/5%).
- This buff makes Ancestral Swiftness viable for use in more static situations. The theorycrafters are still working on the numbers, but this may be the talent of choice for this tier with certain t15 trinkets + the legendary meta gem. More on this later in the 5.2 enhancement Need To Know guide.
Conductivity no longer requires that the target be within the area of effect of Healing Rain.
- To my understanding this means that if you heal someone outside of the Healing Rain, those IN the Healing Rain gain the healing effect. Say for example, you're taking on Feng in Mogu'shan Vaults. Ranged are stacked up in the middle, you place Healing Rain on the ranged. You directly heal the tank, which is over on the side with the boss. Those within your rain get 30% of the direct heal you just landed on the tank. This adjustment was made to make this talent a bit more appealing and slightly less situation bound.
Conductivity now shares 30% (was 20%) of the healing received from Healing Wave, Greater Healing Wave, or Healing Surge
- A buff to help make this particular talent choice a bit more appealing.
Ancestral Guidance now copies 60% (was 40%) of the amount healed.
- While this buff to the healing portion of AG can be applied towards elemental and enhancement shaman, this is mainly geared towards restoration to make this talent choice more appealing to them. For the most part, us elementals and enhancers don't tend to heal while we pop AG, unless we're soloing and near death.
Unleashed Fury Flametongue now increases Lightning Bolt damage by 20% (was 30%), and Lava Burst damage by 10%.
- This tweak is a buff for elemental shaman to make this talent more appealing to them, and a minor nerf for us enhancement shaman, bringing it slightly more in line with the other two talent choices for this tier.
Primal Earth Elemental and Primal Fire Elemental now deal 20% more damage.
- The buff for the primal versions of our elementals (via the Primal Elementalist talent) is meant to make this talent more attractive for us DPS-type shaman.
Elemental Blast now has a chance to increase the caster's Agility for Enhancement Shamans.
- This change is a buff is intended to be a buff/addition geared towards enhancement shaman. The verdict is still out as to whether or not this change is enough to make this particular talent appealing (so far it looks like the other two talents pull a good bit ahead of this one), but it's a step in the direction of talent balance.
Glyph of Purge now adds a 6 second cooldown to Purge.
- A change geared towards PvP balance.
Glyph of Flame Shock has been redesigned. This glyph now causes the Shaman to heal for 50% of the damage dealt by Flame Shock.
- Originally this glyph extended the duration of FS by 25% at the cost of Flame Shocks' initial damage. The made the 25% extended duration baseline, and reworked this glyph so that FS will heal us for 50% of the damage it deals. Over all this is a fairly piddly heal, as Flame Shock doesn't tend to do a whole lot of damage single target. However, if you find yourself in a situation where you don't have anything better to put in a glyph spot for a certain fight, an extra little bit of healing is never a bad thing!
Elemental Focus now increases the Shaman's spell damage by 15% (was 10%).
Shamanism now increases the damage of Lightning Bolt by 70% (was 50%).
- Two buffs to help bring elemental's overall damage up a bit.
Mental Quickness now lowers the cost of shocks by 90% (still lowers the cost of other “beneficial, instant, damaging and totem spells” by 75%).
Edit: According to the 5.2 Class Review done by Blizz, this change was geared towards helping out enhancement shaman in PvP scenarios. Apparently with low melee uptime, enhancers were finding themselves OOM. I still won't complain any, as this change can likewise help in certain solo situations!
Spirit Walk now has a 1-minute cooldown (was 2 minutes).
- More mobility is never a bad thing, especially as a melee class. This change is super handy for those movement heavy fights.
As I said a bit ago, most of these changes are really more minor tweaks. A few are quality of life changes, some are simply balancing our talents so that we may choose talents based on either preference or situation, instead of simply choosing a particular talent because "it's always the best one." Naturally, changing certain talents in and out can change your playstyle to a certain degree, but more on that later. Go forth and enjoy the new content!