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Totem Talk: Addons for elemental shaman

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Totem Talk for elemental, enhancement and restoration shaman. Get some Fulmination with your Lightning Bolts! Sort the shocks from the flames with Totem Talk: Elemental, brought to you by Sarah Nichol, otherwise known as Pewter from The 'mental Shaman, co-host of the Obscurecast, and founding member of TotemSpot.

How do I play WoW? With a few addons I've grown very fond of over the past few years. A UI is a highly personal thing, and I'm sure a few folks are going to raise an eyebrow at my choices. Addons and custom UIs are one of the reasons that Warcraft is so successful. For those of us who spend a lot of time interacting with the game, having control over the way information is presented and how we play is paramount.

I base my UI around a few simple principles:
  • Redundancy of information
  • Clarity
  • Accessibility
  • Flexibility
My machine is fairly old, so my UI is not as elegant and pretty as those of some others, but I do what works for me. I've not included convenience addons or BossMods because I wanted to focus on combat addons. A good elemental UI is all about tracking our fire totems, our buffs, and our various procs and cooldowns. The best method for this, in my opinion, is choosing appropriate addons for each bit of information. This means that various functions should be handled by different addons and even in some cases duplicated.

Elemental love for EventHorizon

EventHorizon Continued is my #1 addon. I can live without cast bars, boss mods, bag mods and even totem mods, but I'm a sucker for an addon that presents information in a way that makes sense. EventHorizon Continued is an extremely simple piece of kit that shows a scrolling time line of cooldowns and DoTs. A white line represents "now" and the bar shows 3 seconds in the past and a configurable amount of seconds in the future.

It works brilliantly out of the box and can also be configured in many ways through a little bit of .lua doohickery in the config. I can slap this anywhere on my screen (but preferably near the cast bar) and I'm ready to DPS all night. I can see how my shock cooldowns, DoTs, casting and global cooldowns all interact. An added bonus of this is that it helps me live by the Always Be Casting rule. Any dead space in spell casting is visually represented. There is, of course, a wide range of spell timers out there, but EventHorizon is the one that works perfectly for me.

As you can see from the image above, my EventHorizon shows a longer period of time and is a longer window. I've also customized some of the textures and excluded a few things like trinkets from the frame. Why? Well, I said I liked redundancy, but I also feel certain cooldowns and abilities lend themselves to different types of notifications. While EventHorizon also shows me when Lava Burst is available to cast or when I have more than 7 stacks of Lightning Shield, I don't want to spend all my time staring at one little box. If I happen to be looking at the box, the information is there for me. Taroven, the addon author, has started up a wiki for customization, but he is also fairly active over at WoW Interface.

Totem Management

No elemental UI is complete without some kind of totem management addon. This can be done with a dedicated addon such as TotemTimers or by using a generic addon such as Power Auras or a normal timer addon such as Quartz. I use Totem Timers as I find it does what I want it to do. It is very configurable, and the "Call of" spells can be edited on the fly. Happily, the addon also supports Omni CC and button_facade. I do use Fire Elemental Totem and Searing Totem on their own keybinds for maximum accessibility.

This addon also gives a much finer level of control over keybinds related to shaman shields, totems and buffs than the default keybinds. The little red dots on each totem button show me that there are people out of range of the totems.

I would recommend un-checking Show Pulse and Show Timer Bars, as well as the built-in auras for Lava Surge and Fulmination, although I keep the Lava Surge Glow, which shows a an animation around Lava Burst on the action bar. I also disable EnhanceCDs and Warnings (both of these are sub-menus of the main TotemTimer interface). A little redundancy is good, but these bells and whistles can often be rather spammy.

If TotemTimers is a little too rich for you, cTotems is a very minimalistic addon if all you need are timers in a more convenient place. Be warned that this addon is very back to basics with little in the way of customization. At the other end of the scale, FloTotemBar puts all your totems out there, all the time.

Alternative methods of totem management include Power Auras set up specifically to track totems. I only use this method for fire totems (or the lack therof) as I wanted to keep my Power Auras very DPS focused. I also recommend creating a custom ring for totem sets with oPie, but as my current set up has met my needs I don't use this method despite hearing great things about the addon.

Cooldowns

Technically, my cooldowns are already covered in EventHorizon, but as I said at the start, I like a little redundancy. EventHorizon handles my shock cooldowns perfectly well, but for longer cooldowns such as Fire Elemental Totem and Elemental Mastery, I prefer to use the minimalistic CoolLine. This neat little addon is very similar in functionality to Antiarc's SexyCooldown, which in turn is modeled after a module of old favorite ForteXorcist. I filter out shock cooldowns and use this to provide myself with a bar that handles my longer cooldowns. In case I happen to be looking at my action bars for some unknown reason, OmniCC handles in-line cooldowns on the actionbars.

Overlapping functions allow active eyes

As you can see, the way I set my UI up means that the functions often overlap. This allows me to keep active eyes and be able to pay attention to the world around me, while still having the information I need available at a glance (and generally in the center of the screen). I play as efficiently as I can and utilize all my character's abilities, and these addons facilitate that. In terms of flexibility, I often move EventHorizon and the totem bars around depending on what functionality I need for a given fight.

Show your totemic mastery by reading Totem Talk. Ready to take your elemental shaman up to the new level cap? We'll help you get to level 85, dig into pre-raid gear and DPS trinkets, and find the addons that'll help your performance shine.

Filed under: Shaman, (Shaman) Totem Talk, Add-Ons

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