Open Letter to the Devs about Chains of Devastation

This is a passionate plea to the developers to work Chains of Devastation into the Shaman Tree (or at very least, the Resto Tree).

Casting Chain Heal makes your next Chain Lightning instant cast and deal 50% increased damage. Casting Chain Lightning makes your next Chain Heal instant cast

This is one of the coolest, rewarding, and most fun Legendaries across all classes and specs in all of shadowlands. I was using it even before double-legos, and the 4p resto bonus. It’s being used by 12% of RShaman in Mythic+ content (making it the second highest non-unity pick next to EQ elemental). I can admit that it’s not a playstyle that everyone loves. In fact, the data shows most shaman seem to prefer something else. However for the people who DO play this Lego, it changes the game in a positive way.

To me, that’s the essence of what makes a “good” Talent.

A Love letter from an avid Chains of Devastation fan:

  • It fits the fantasy of a shaman perfect. It’s on theme with being both a healer but also one that can do damage. It’s on theme with things like Master of the Elements that encourage weaving different spells. It’s on theme with having strong instant casts and mobility.
  • It dovetails nicely with all the cool stuff that modifies Chain Heal, for example quickly spreading Ancestral Vigor to an entire raid.
  • It feels very balanced, in that it has some true downsides: It chews through your mana to spam Chain Heal, and it requires an enemy target in range. Also it requires a ramp-up cast to get the chain started, and the buff only lasts for 12 seconds.
  • I actually feel like the 4p set bonus makes Chain of Dev “too easy” because you have free and instant chain heals all over your kit. With that going away, the talent would be more niche - but still viable.
  • It increases the skill ceiling as healer, because it is dynamic to play. When things are tense, it feels so fun to target juggle the chain heal/lightnings; and when you nail it, you feel rewarded. It also feels rewarding to keep track of which buff you have and making sure it doesn’t drop (again with 4p this isn’t a real concern today).
  • It actually allows the shaman to convert mana into healing. Right now with high crit, If I don’t use Chains of Dev it’s almost impossible to go lower than 90% mana in a fight. There’s no way for me to increase throughput by spending down mana.

Recommendation for Talent Placement:
(EDIT - these comments were based on an old talent build)

  1. If making a new node is on the table, the most logical place would be dropping it straight down from the Flow of the Tides / Ancestral Reach node. That puts it in the 20 required category as a stand-alone point. It’s a natural choice given that the nodes leading up to here are things that buff chain heal (Stormkeeper) and Chain Heal (Flow/Reach). It seems like a perfect continuation of that line.
  2. It could be a branch off of Nature’s Swiftness in the base tree. The current Lego already applies to all 3 specs, so this could be a base-tree talent.

If we are restricted to the existing node placements, there are a few nodes that could be replaced and no one would really miss them…

  1. Replace Downpour with Chains of Devastation. Downpour is one of the least popular talents in the shadowlands tree. It’s just SO close to chain heal already. I can’t imagine feeling like I want to add another button to my bar that’s “Chain Heal, but a little different…”. It’s also in a reasonable spot for Chains of Dev, being on that left half of the tree.
  2. Replace the Ancestral Reach choice from that node, and make the choice there between: Flows of the Tides / Chains of Devastation. Ancestral Reach is a pretty uninspired talent. It doesn’t really do much to change you playstyle, and you already have the option for Flows of the Tides a more interesting and I would say powerful talent.
  3. Replace Nature’s Focus with Chains of Devastation. Another uninspired choice, this conduit is taken by less than 1% of mythic+ players, and probably even less Raiders. I actually do use it ~with~ Chains of Dev, but couldn’t imagine taking it without.
  4. Move Ancestral Wolf Affinity to main tree, then make the choice between Stormkeeper / Chains of Devastation. Ancestral Wolf Affinity is already on all 3 spec trees. Move it over to the primary tree somehwere. As it stands Wolf -or- stormkeep seems like an arbitrary choice as they don’t really interact in any meaningful way. Stormkeeper / Chains of Dev would be an intersting choice node.

Other Thoughts about Talents:

As outlined above, Chains of Dev is a playstyle altering talent, and not for “everyone”. So it would logically be placed as a Branch on the tree or a choice on a node.

One possible critism of Chains of Devastation as a Talent is that neither Chain Lightning no Chain Healing are baseline abilites, but other talents. So in theory you “could” build a bad tree and skip Chain Lightning but opt into Chains of Dev. But this isn’t without precident. Take a look at where Ascendence is placed on the Resto Tree. This talent is gated behind Earthen Harmony, a talent that is worthless unless you take Earth Shield. To be clear, I do NOT see this as a problem. Earth shield is an accessible and desirable talent to any resto shaman (as is Chain Lightning). I bring it up only to assuage any concerns over Chains of Dev being dependant on choices in the primary tree.

Hopefully this longwinded letter is seen by the developers and considered. I think all the Shaman trees are the best trees so far in the Alpha. I just want my favorite Lego to get it’s due consideration.

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As an Enhancement main, I always try to find a viable dps/heal hybrid spec every patch, just to see if such a thing could exist. With the changes to our mana in SL I thought it was going to be impossible, but this legendary gave me some hope of ever trying to achieve such a true-hybrid spec.
I really would love for not only Chains of Devestation to remain, but it would be incredible if this made it onto the class tree. I don’t think it will ever be OP on account of the fact that it is anti-synergistic with MSW, but I like having this option for mana-less healing.

Otherwise, I fully agree that this is a niche effect that enables a fun playstyle for certain players and it would be nice for this option to remain in the game.

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I actually love chains of devestation as Elemental.

As with the above poster, it makes for a pretty fun and different feeling hybrid dps/healing playstyle that would fit in great with their goal of making builds more flexible.

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Taking in some of the feedback from Max, Yummie, and Maevey - Flow of Tides is actually a bit of a “Trap” talent.

Consuming Riptides actually disables other talents on your tree and would probably be bad in 90% of situations. This talent is a revival of an old MOP talent that existed at a time when Riptide was an extremely weak heal. Mathematically the other Chain Heal option on this node: Ancestral Reach, gives roughly a 24% increase to Chain Heal’s overall effectiveness with no tradeoff. So if you really want to empower your Chain Heal, you’d always choose Ancestral Reach over Flows in 99% of cases.

This node is also a perfect location on the tree for Chains of Devastation (replacing Flow). For a 2-point investment in a great way to overclock your AOE DPS and HPS throughput by taking Stormkeeper + Chains of Devastation.

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I fully support this idea. I think supporting different play styles should be a large focus of the new talent system, and Chains of Devastation delivers. Though all of the options for implementing it sounded really good, I think it would be best to add it to the class tree, giving Ele and Enh players access to the talent.

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I agree. It’s a super fun legendary.

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Absofriggenlutely.

The Chains of Devastation Leggo, as spoken from an Enhance Shaman, is super fun to play. What holds it back imo is a lack of MSW generation. If this leggo was in the actual Shaman Class Tree, we could then pair that with the Enhance version of Wolf Bones, and then problems are solved.

This is the only way an Enhance can feel like they are playing a “Battle Mage”.

I honestly don’t care if it were not ideal as far as DPS. I want to ability to play it so I can Hybrid the way I want to.

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I don’t personally enjoy Chains of Devastation. If they were to include it, I’d hope there would be alternative DPS options so I wouldn’t feel forced to play it in M+.

Personally, I just want Vesper Totem to come back. For me, it’s exactly what I want out of a “healer doing DPS” mechanic. I recognize the balance problems it creates, though.

You wouldn’t be forced to play it, CoD is a net dps loss over taking no legendary at all. If it were included in the tree and were forced to get it for other good stuff, you would likely just ignore it altogether unless I’m emergency situations

Is this still true in a situation where you’re trying to deal damage while needing to heal through incoming damage, or just in a situation where you’d be able to spam Chain Lightning anyway?

There is no situation currently in game (pve) where a dps should be stopping dps to spam heals. It is actually more costly to do that as the mobs will live longer, resulting in more damage than you healed. Every healer is currently equipped to handle every mechanic just fine.

Sure every once in a while you throw out an emergency heal, but you are losing thousands of overall dps and 10s of thousands of burst dps to take this legendary, and that is never ever worth.

It never even occurred to me that an elemental or enhancement shaman would ever consider taking this legendary.

I’m thinking of this entirely from a resto shaman perspective.

Agreed, I don’t think anyone ever seriously considered running Chains of Dev in any non-resto spec… outside of doing some memey 4 DPS teams.

That being said, whatever Corbendallas’s opinion of the lego, it’s currently being used by roughly 1 in 9 RShamans as their legendary for M+ Keys. It’s Niche for sure. But for people who like that playstyle, it’s going to feel so bad to lose it.

For sure. I want people to be able to keep it.

My only concern is that I’d be compelled to play it if it were added to the tree without any other changes. In the absence of other DPS options, this would be an automatic pick for any Resto Shaman going into keys. For me personally, that would be disappointing because I don’t like the playstyle.

My hope is that this can be implemented alongside other options so everyone can play what they enjoy.

Ahh sorry, didn’t realize you meant resto.

No it wouldn’t be mandatory in keys as resto, it’s mostly a meme pick for lower keys. It doesn’t increase your dps and is heavily mana inefficient. Just spamming chain lightning would do more damage in that case.

Even if it did do more damage, you still wouldn’t use it because in order to get damage out you are likely ooming yourself too quickly and just overhealing .

In most situations it’s a net healing loss as well unless you’re running a melee stack. It doesn’t really solve any problems that rsham has either, as in heavy aoe situations we almost always have a cooldown to deal with it, and it’s useless for single target or tank healing.

Agreed, it’s not “mandatory”, but it’s also far from a meme. Looking at sub creation, there are a number of high-end key pushers using it over Earth Ele. It has a +26 already, where the highest Earth Ele lego build is at +27. So it’s not just a meme build.

It is mana inefficient for sure - It drains your mana. But the Infiltrators refill your mana. So going into an infiltrator pull with 90+% mana is its own type of inefficient. I’ve been using it for two seasons and between Infiltrators and Uhr Relics I’ve had no mana problems. And what it loses in efficiency it gains in raw throughput.

Not only does it do decent damage + decent healing, it also interacts with your 4p giving you more frequent Vesper. It clears 1 Grievous stacks from 5 players in a single gcd so you get “free” affixes on Grievous weeks. And sometimes earth ele is a liability on sanguin weeks (meaning that lego has very little value). It’s also not interruptible by quaking or by being knocked up by storming.

So yeah, maybe against target dummies and bots on simming tools ~ it has “a net healing loss” but I’ve drunk deep from this well and I don’t know if I can go back :slight_smile: .

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Yes it’s used by like 6% of shaman. Realistically it’s used by most of those because their group likely wants to make use of earth ele outside of just damage, or just don’t want to press earth ele at all on weeks like sanguine.

The fact that this one is second simply speaks to how dogwater the rest of resto leggos are for keys after deeptremor. It doesn’t provide anything useful except for the rare instance to help with movement.

I’m not entirely against putting it in DF talent trees as long as it is 100% out of the way, and they don’t waste any development time implementing it

This is the key issue.

I fundamentally disagree. I think Chains of Dev is the best leggo :slight_smile:

Sure man, we can disagree. However numerically and statistically CoD is a terrible legendary that does nothing for the dps or hps throughput of the spec.

I respect that you enjoy it, but it’s both a dps and hps loss and doesn’t really belong in any capacity, and therefore doesn’t really have a place in the DF treesq