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Posts with tag elemental-combat

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.

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

Totem Talk: Totem tweaks keep elemental shaman on course for Cataclysm


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 and the Obscurecast and founding member of TotemSpot.

This has been an authenticatorless week. I do not recommend weeks like this. Now that I have access to Azeroth again, however, I am reminded that the lack of substantial updates to the elemental spec implies that the developers are mostly finished with us and have been for some time. For the majority of elemental shaman, we are watching and waiting for the final Cataclysm itemization and profession details, although we certainly aren't the only class in this situation. Luckily, this latest beta build has given us a few minor details to mull over. My enforced break from the game has also coincided with my first reader emails and questions, so after I've covered the consequences of the tweaks, I'll be answering some questions.

Now, as for the small changes, I am happy to see Searing Totem finally get some love. I suspect many elemental shaman will be grinding their teeth in annoyance as I mention the shaman sweet spot on the Blood Queen Lana'thel encounter, or the frustrating positioning for Blood Prince Council, or even the erratic totem behavior on Sindragosa! The totem's low range has caused many shaman to question the value of the current Elemental Reach talent. Why pick up a talent that increases your max range to 40 yards, if you have to continually refresh a Searing Totem at a mere 20 yards? The full change and a Ghostcrawler post on the topic is after the jump.

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Filed under: Shaman, (Shaman) Totem Talk

Totem Talk: Elemental shaman changes for patch 4.0.1

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. She can also be seen pottering around TotemSpot, trailing a pet dalek behind her.

My name is Sarah, and I have a problem. The diagnosis is farsightedness, a result of focusing on Cataclysm to the exclusion of all else. The quests, the new casting priorities, the shiny surroundings, and the fact that I get to be a dwarf instead of a draenei ... So much to think over, so much to explore! There is nothing cuter that a dwarf shaman, except maybe those new armadillos. Where was I, again?

Now, patch 4.0.1 is on the PTR, dragging in new talent trees and new hit numbers to consider and the removal of Sentry Totem. Time to start paying attention. We must not let the sacrifice of Sentry Totem be in vain! There should be no expectations of balance at this point, as all these new level 80 shiny things are developed with level 85 in mind. There are still questions pending on some of the details, so whether our flames are bright or storm clouds are on the horizon for elemental is up for debate. From hit caps to casting priorities, we've got a bit to get through in my inaugural Totem Talk, so sit tight, make sure you know where your towel is and everything will be just fine. I hope.

Now, where to start? Oh, yes. Hit.

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Filed under: Shaman, (Shaman) Totem Talk

Totem Talk: Mystery DPS leak?


As I mentioned last week, they're hotfixing Lightning Overload: The chance for the Lightning Overload talent to be triggered is being increased from 7/13/20% to 11/22/33%. The reason this change is going live is a little more confusing. It's going live because elemental shaman DPS is low, but the developers can find no reason for it.

I find this interesting because it's illustrative of the complexity of the game itself and also of the elemental shaman and the way the class interacts with others for its damage potential. We can assume that the damage loss moving from Naxxramas to Ulduar is real, because the developers are already hotfixing a change to compensate for it (something they have not done for other classes that have demonstrated DPS loss in Ulduar) and so we're left with something of a mystery. Why is elemental shaman DPS decreasing since patch 3.1?

I won't pretend I know better than anyone else. If the people who work to predict and design these systems didn't see this one coming, and it's not due to an obvious nerf (which it's not) then it baffles me. But we can still muse about possible culprits. (By we, I really mean we here. I want to see what you guys think, because I have to admit, I cannot figure this out. I've looked at raid WWS for my guild and our elemental shaman does seem to be lower, but he and I discussed it and he has no more of a clue than I do. Since all my gear is resto, I offspec elemental but am by no means an expert yet.)

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

Totem Talk: Patch 3.1 and Shamans - The PvP patch

So far, if you look at every PTR round up for shamans we've done here at WoW insider, you'll note that the changes are primarily aimed at PvP balance. There have been a few tweaks to resto aimed at mana regen (like Mana Spring going exclusive with Blessing of Wisdom) but in general, it's safe to say that 3.1 will be the shaman's PvP patch.

The most recent PTR build has a confusing bug fix to Totem of Wrath (Okay, so it's not changing to 30 yards, because it was 30 yards anyway and now it will be the 40 yards the tooltip reads) and a nice buff to Storm, Earth and Fire. Each new tank reduces the cooldown on Chain Lightning, meaning that at max rank the six second cooldown will be reduced by 2.5 seconds. Combined with Lightning Mastery, you will be able to cast a Chain Lightning every 3 seconds. While shorter cast times are always good for PvP, this change will affect PvE just as much by giving shamans more casts of chain lightning during AoE pulls. It doesn't really match true AoE, not even with the glyph on, but it's something to add to dropping Fire Nova or Magma Totem. And unlike those, it won't cost you Totem of Wrath to use. There was also this nice discussion of Totem Stomper macros, which I call a nice discussion because it's blatantly in favor of destroying them and scattering their virtual ashes across the wide and bitter plains.

So then, if we're patching shamans to be better in PvP, what then is the current status of the class therein? We know that the arena isn't actually setting many people's hearts afire lately, where do shamans fit into this decline? Well, actually, better than some folks... if you're resto, anyway.

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Filed under: Shaman, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, PvP, (Shaman) Totem Talk, Battlegrounds, Arena

Is Shaman health too low in PvP?


"It's possible health in general is low for shamans" comes the response in a thread about Shamans in PvP. The dev's, we are told, are looking at elemental and enhancement shamans in 3.1, specifically in the area of their survivability in PvP. Is the culprit too much burst? Are shamans simply too squishy? We're not given any real specifics, but the fact that health is specifically mentioned as possibly the culprit is very interesting. To be honest, I'm not sure how you'd fix it. Putting more stam on Enhamcement mail would mean that Hunters would also go up in health, which to be honest I don't have a clue about. It seems more likely to me that shamans will simply get more benefit from the stamina already on their gear.

At any rate, PvP shamans, something is coming for 3.1, although we have no idea what as yet.

Filed under: Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, PvP, Forums

On the edge of change Pt 2: Shamans in patch 3.0.2

If you're like me, you're writing a guide for shamans explaining how the class will change when patch 3.0.2, the Echoes of Doom patch, goes live tomorrow. Hi, I'm doing that too! Right now, in fact. By the time you read this, I will have finished it and the blistering, searing array of changes will have stopped erupting in my poor, addled brain.

One of the interesting effects of Echoes of Doom is what won't be accessible: the long awaited and somewhat controversial shaman CC, Hex, will not be ours until level 80. The new fire-based spell Lava Burst will also not be attainable, which was even listed as a reason for a nerf that didn't happen to our lightning spells. Many of the changes to our class will still be in the future when this Tuesday's patch rolls around.

There's still plenty to comment on, though. Spell coefficients, the unified spell power system, and specific talents and spells aimed at changing how you spec and how shamans feel to play. Earthliving Weapon is just one change, but it's one of my favorites... a useful imbue for resto shamans and anyone forced to emergency heal. There are still concerns (well, okay, I still have a few concerns, I can't speak for everyone) about how things will look as we all level up, but none of that will affect you when patch 3.0.2 hits, since 70 will still be max level and you'll still be in the gear you have now.

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Filed under: Shaman, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Expansions, Classes, Talents, (Shaman) Totem Talk

Totem Talk: Elemental Combat in the Wrath Beta

In testing elemental this week (and trying to get through the bugs, crashes, etcetera) I've come to several conclusion about the spec. One is that it still needs work, but probably not as much work as my experiences with it would make you think. For starters, I'm poorly geared in Karazhan/Heroics level gear (some of which was originally restoration gear) and a few quest trinkets. Secondly, I'm not a talented caster DPS player. It's not my prefered playstyle. Thirdly, I spend way too much time running around, gathering piles of mobs and Thunderstorming them off of cliffs in Borean Tundra. I'm not sure if I love this spell or hate it: the long cooldown means it's basically a gimmick, and I have yet to use it in an instance run, but it makes farming quests (kill X of Y) hilarious fun. How many Loot Crazed Poachers can I send hurtling to their watery graves today?

In general, if you're playing an elemental shaman on live, you won't change your playstyle very much until level 75, when you finally get Lava Burst. Just one video I found showing the damage potential of Lava Burst is this one, which highlights the effective synergy of the spell. There's some debate as to whether or not having to put the flame shock up to get the guaranteed critical Lava Burst throws off the rotation and lowers your DPS, which is not something I can answer effectively as I have a hard enough time with rotations as it is. For soloing, however, the Flame Shock - Lightning Bolt - Chain Lightning - Lightning Bolt - Lighting Bolt - Lightning Bolt - Lava Burst rotation I tried out doesn't let FS tick for the full amount but same level mobs don't often even last this long. (I often have to go Flame Shock - Chain Lightning - Lava Burst because if I wait longer things will be dead before the Lava Burst.) Even in instances, mobs sometimes don't last long enough for a full rotation, although if you weren't as quick to mash spells off as I was you could probably get it to full duration on a boss fight.

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Filed under: Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, (Shaman) Totem Talk, Wrath of the Lich King

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