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Posts with tag SentryTotem

Keeping perspective

It's sometimes astonishing to me how passionate World of Warcraft players can be about the game. This includes myself: I have hot-button topics that absolutely flood me with adrenaline and cause me to rant (just ask my coworkers here at WoW.com all about that some time), and later I'll sit back and be amazed. I'm still amazed I managed to put out a thousand-word column about Sentry Totem. (You have no idea how sad it was for me to not be working on shaman content the day they announced they were going to take Sentry Totem out. Lost a chance for a thousand-word eulogy.)

But as passionate and involved as we can get, and as excited about upcoming patches and new expansions and even sparkly ponies, sometimes we lose perspective. The infamous "slap in the face" forum ranting is based on a real mentality that X (fill in whatever you want) is the absolute ruination of the game. Downsizing raids to 25-man max is ruining the game. Arenas are ruining the game. The badge system is ruining the game, hybrids are ruining the game, pures are ruining the game, 10/25 variable raids are ruining the game, micro transactions, dual specs, what have you. The game has been constantly in a state of ruination since early 2005 when some realms were undergoing severe latency on peak nights and it was, you guessed it, ruining the game.

Frankly, sometimes rather than posting that comment, forum post, or what have you, we as involved, passionate people need to take a couple of deep breaths and chill out.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Totem Talk: The Future of Totems?

All apologies for yesterday being, well, totemless. Personal and family obligations and a lack of warning simply swamped me, and as a result Totem Talk is on Friday and Care and Feeding will be Saturday this week only.

Before we get to brass tacks, as it were, I should point out that it was announced that shamans are getting a talent respec for free in 3.0.8, most likely due to the changes we discussed last week.

Yesterday, we covered this very interesting forum thread which basically asks the shaman community to discuss totems in the most open-ended way I've ever seen a blue solicit feedback. Asking people to just discuss any aspect of totems they don't like, or how they would change totems if it was up to them? I can't remember ever seeing this level of feedback asked for from the community.

Now, since I'm a sheep, I figured I'd follow along with this general tendency. I mean, we've discussed totems here before, especially the greatest totem of all time. But rather than merely talk about what we don't like or would change about totems (we'll do that too, of course) I figured we could also cover what's good about totems, especially in these days of raid wide buffs that don't stack.

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Filed under: Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Buffs, (Shaman) Totem Talk, Forums

Totem Talk: Sentry Totem

Totem Talk is the column for shamans. Last week, Matthew Rossi warned you that he'd write an entire column about Sentry Totem, but you didn't listen, did you? You didn't pay any attention to his warning and now here we are, stuck with an entire column about Sentry Totem. You brought this on yourselves.

Yes, this column is going to be about Sentry Totem.

No, seriously. It really is.

Okay, look, if I give you a few minutes to stop laughing, can we get serious about this? Okay? I'll just be over here, waiting. You collect yourselves and when you're done we'll get started.

Okay. The serious discussion of Sentry Totem.

I won't go so far as to say Sentry Totem is entirely without merit. It is, however. the least used totem on my bar. The only time I've ever used it is in WSG matches when I want to have the ability to check on the flag room without having to actually be in it. And the five minute duration and low health makes it fairly useless even for that. Even if someone grabs the flag while I'm watching, all I can do is tell people what is about to be announced to the entire battleground anyway. If I get seriously lucky and no one kills the totem, and no one kills me while I'm standing entirely motionless somewhere checking on the totem, unable to control my character at all, then I might be able to tell the group which tunnel they ran out of.

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Filed under: Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Lore, (Shaman) Totem Talk

Totem Talk: Three Classes In One?

Totem Talk is the column for shamans, and Matthew Rossi has been obsessively trying to get his draenei shaman into outland this week. He's maddeningly close. He might have made it today if the Bark for the Barleybrew quest hadn't bugged out on him, but at least he got his Wolpertinger. No, this column won't be about Brewfest, but I had to show off my cute new pet or my wife would have been displeased with me.

Like all true hybrids, Shamans are remarkably versatile. They can heal, they can melee, they can nuke. And like all true hybrids, they can only do one of these things, and then only if they properly gear and spec for it. While it is possible and worthwhile to really push the borders of the inherent multi-tasking of the class, most folks pick a role and stick with it, either because (as is my case) they don't have the gear to do anything more than their generally designated role or because they don't really want to. My resto shaman cannot DPS. Not even because of spec, but because he simply has not the gear for a DPS role and as a result there's no point in him attempting it. If I had good enough enhancement gear, I would probably try and DPS a lot more, but with the limitations of what he's carrying around in his bags it's simply not possible.

Your spec is like an aptitude: it defines what your character will have the most options in. As a resto shaman, I have plenty of added punch to my healing, talents like Healing Way, Improved Chain Heal, Earth Shield and Nature's Blessing. But I'm lacking the offensive punch of the talents from Elemental for my spells, which means even if I had the gear, my shocks and lightning bolts are not going to match up to a shaman who has spent the points. I won't have Lightning Overload or Elemental Precision. And if I try and mix it up in melee, I lack the ability to Dual Wield, the enhanced weapon buffs of Elemental Weapons or the bite of Weapon Mastery. I still have the basics that Elemental and Enhancement shamans use in combat, of course, and they still have the basics of shaman healing, but there is always a noticeable drop in performance when doing something outside of your spec.

Of course, some of you are probably saying "tell us something we don't know" while still others are ready to point out that even if an enhancement shaman can't heal as well as a resto shaman, he can still heal. And that's actually a good point. An enhancement shaman or an elemental shaman can, in fact, still heal. This leads to an often overlooked aspect of the class - basically, you bring a shaman along on a run because a shaman, in addition to whatever DPS or healing he or she can provide in a main role, can also provide what I like to call 'panic button' capacity.

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Filed under: Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Classes, (Shaman) Totem Talk

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