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Posts with tag elemental-shaman-totem-talk

Totem Talk: UI elements for elemental

Sarah Nichol's elemental UI
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Totem Talk for elemental, enhancement, and restoration shaman. Josh Myers once only tackled the hard questions about enhancement but has recently expanded his sphere of responsibility to all shaman DPS specs. (And no, two-handed enhancement is still never coming back.)

Discussing addons is a tricky business. On the one hand, Mat McCurley does his weekly Reader UI of the Week segment, which is a sure sign that some of WoW Insider's readership are fans of customized UIs. On the other, we're all aware from comments, forum posts, and blogs that there are players who find anything outside of the default Blizzard UI to be sacrilege, and that using addons detracts from the experience of playing the game.

This is a post about which addons I feel are most beneficial to playing an elemental shaman. If you're a fan of totally customized UIs, these are the addons I think would help the most in improving your performance on an elemental shaman. If you're not a fan of addons or customizing your UI, that's cool, too. This just might not be the post for you, but I hope you read on and decide for yourself!

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

Totem Talk: How to level your elemental shaman

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Totem Talk for elemental, enhancement, and restoration shaman. Josh Myers once only tackled the hard questions about enhancement but has recently expanded his sphere of responsibility to all shaman DPS specs. (And no, two-handed enhancement is still never coming back.)

With the introduction of Blizzard's new free trial system, the number of low-level characters playing World of Warcraft has drastically risen. Whether it is established players creating alternate characters on new accounts, past players trying to decide if they want to return to the game, or persons who have never played WoW (or any video game!) before, Blizzard has made it both easy and appealing to start a new character.

At WoW Insider, we're aware of how scary it can be to start a character in the World of Warcraft. With tons of abilities, four equipment types, 12 races, and 10 classes with three talent trees each, WoW can be a confusing and intimidating game to start out. Fortunately, I'm going to help by alleviating some of the weight on your shoulders and help make your decision for you: roll a tauren elemental shaman. You'll look awesome, and then you can follow this handy elemental shaman leveling guide! It's a win/win situation.

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Filed under: Shaman, (Shaman) Totem Talk, Cataclysm

Totem Talk: Fixing the Fire Elemental problem

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Totem Talk for elemental, enhancement, and restoration shaman. Josh Myers once tackled the hard questions about enhancement but has recently expanded his sphere of responsibility to all DPS specs for shaman. And no, two-handed enhancement is still never coming back.

Imagine you have a friend. This isn't any normal friend, but a friend that you really, really, really want to get interested in World of Warcraft. To this end, you have the brilliant plan that if you let him raid on your character, he'll be so taken by the experience that he'll be level 85 within a week.

Naturally, this goes badly. Recount shows your character below the tanks every attempt, as your friend spends half the fight attacking the wrong target and the other half of the fight attacking nothing at all. Of course, that's only on the fights where he manages to stay alive, which is one in 10 attempts.

Now, imagine that in order to do your maximum DPS, you have to let that friend raid with you every single fight. If you choose not to allow that friend to raid, you'll lose about 3,000 potential DPS. However, if you choose to let him raid, you run the risk of his dying, attacking the wrong target, or standing in the center of the room while he mentally alt-tabs.

Welcome to playing an elemental shaman.

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Filed under: Shaman, (Shaman) Totem Talk, Cataclysm

Totem Talk: Gear for elemental shaman in patch 4.2

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 podcast and founding member of TotemSpot.

Dragons and spiders and flaming cats, oh my! It is officially summer time here in the UK, so by all rights I should be either talking about the weather or inundating you with extremely bad puns involving heat. Instead, lets talk about the latest in mail-based fashions as we prepare for the Firelands.

As with the previous tier, the gear for tier 12 is obtained through a mixture of justice points, crafting and vendors unlocked by daily quests. The snazziest headgear, weapons and trinkets still require the bravery necessary to take on the later bosses of the Firelands. Tier 12 has a great, if occasionally frustrating, two-piece bonus and the four-piece bonus is nothing to shake a stick at. Our tier itemization is lacking in spirit, so non-tier items in a haste/spirit or mastery/spirit combo will be in demand.

This list does not include gear from heroic modes, but for the most part the heroic versions of the better items are even better. And by "the most part," I mean all. As there is still a week or so to go until patch day, this list is subject to change. If you've just dinged 85, then I suggest checking out the troll gear guide and the pre-raid gear guide to augment items picked up from rep and crafting in patch 4.2. Ready for fire-themed upgrades? Read on.

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Filed under: Shaman, Raiding, (Shaman) Totem Talk

Totem Talk: Trolling for elemental shaman gear in patch 4.1 and beyond

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 podcast and founding member of TotemSpot.

The proliferation of troll-themed gear is giving me bear run flashbacks. Are they giving you flashbacks, too? I must admit that eying up the new Voodoo Hexblade is filling me with the ghosts of gear-longing pasts, for once upon a time I was obsessed with Wub's Cursed Hexblade. I never got the damn thing, but the memory of The Burning Crusade makes me smile. That can only be a good thing, when studying the next generation of epics for my totem-toting class.

Thanks to crafting, rep gear, and the new troll dungeons, it is possible to get yourself fully kitted out in purples without setting foot in a raid. Of course, this gearing requires a little bit of luck, a lot of pugging, and a consistent time investment upon hitting level 85. However, we have covered getting an elemental shaman raid-ready a few months back, so while we look forward to patch 4.2, it is time to pick out some troll fashions and start saving for some new accessories.

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Filed under: Shaman, (Shaman) Totem Talk

Totem Talk: Elemental shaman leveling from 1 to 20

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 podcast and founding member of TotemSpot.

Last time, I talked about how elemental shaman have gradually begun to evolve from turrets into athletes. All that talking about patch 4.2 and that running around has my dwarf shaman longing to put her feet up and have a beer. So while my grouchy dwarf peers into the depths of her (pewter) tankard and ponders on the delightful looks of tier 12, I've been exploring the world of troll shaman. That's right, I'm leveling a new elemental shaman from scratch in the post-patch 4.1 game.

Meet Zuulfi, a young troll shaman on her way to level 85. Right now, she still randomly hits things with her staff and throws out the occasional Earth Shock. Eventually, the plan is to for her to match strides with the gray-haired dwarf I normally put above my columns. Why a troll? I play a dwarf -- time for a taller Horde point of view.

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Filed under: Shaman, (Shaman) Totem Talk

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: Wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey stuff vs. mastery

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.

I have proof that The Master is an elemental shaman! This is going to keep me happy for weeks -- or at least until the premiere of the next series of Doctor Who. This week, I'd like to touch upon a long-standing pet peeve of mine involving that wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey stuff we call haste, and also have a poke at The Ma -- I mean, at mastery.

This goes back to the days when I was brand new to blogging and trying to gear up my own shaman for the first time. As I built up my store of knowledge, I frequently came across a specified amount of haste that was viewed almost like a haste cap. Get that amount of haste, and you didn't need any more? Madness. As the elemental tree was changed and tinkered with, this fixed number became less and less relevant. Based as it was in the idea of a fixed rotation and fitting in an extra Lightning Bolt between every Lava Burst, this fixed number wasn't as applicable in a live raid situation, where human error, RNG, and lag all combined to create an imperfect environment for a perfect rotation.

Cataclysm delivered mastery into the mix. Thus began the eternal question: When is mastery better than haste? This question is couched in a misunderstanding of the way haste and mastery interact and in the practice of stacking whichever is the best perceived stat.

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Filed under: Shaman, (Shaman) Totem Talk

Patch 4.1 brings the AoE 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.

Just when you thought it was safe to go outside, it's our chance at a preview of patch 4.1! There I was, all set to rant about mastery and haste when some datamining popped up. I for one am pretty happy about the content of the patch, although I've heard a lot of consternation on Twitter about rehashing of old content. Comparing 4.1 to the first big content patch of Wrath? Wrath doesn't come close. Two raids, three 5-mans, the story getting progressed in Mount Hyjal, new pets and new mounts ... There's an awful lot to look forward to.

On the elemental shaman front, so far there are a few direct patch notes and some tweaks to other areas of the game that we'll want to keep an eye on -- or at the very least, celebrate.

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Filed under: Shaman, (Shaman) Totem Talk

Totem Talk: Elemental shaman buffs in patch 4.0.6

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.

As ever, when I logged in to patch 4.0.6 (on the EU servers, of course), I spent a good amount of time cooing over the little changes. Even with the PTR, there is a lot that goes unremarked or unnoticed simply because I'm so focused on the theory changes. I bid farewell to a large pot of archaeology grays and was uncommonly happy about the appearance of the Elementium Stormshield graphic and the ability to mount up next to the Stormwind flight master. I am ecstatic about the graphic changes to healing spells. The watery hands effect on Greater Healing Wave, Healing Surge and Healing Wave has turned me into a smug shaman. The spell effect is a small change, but it adds a great deal to the flavor of the shaman class -- even if many people on my Twitter don't like the sound effects.

A couple of weeks ago, I was not impressed by the changes to our spells as they were on the PTR at that time. In the end, the changes have been a little more substantial and subtle, but the overall fragility of our DPS in heavy movement fights will remain an issue for those of us that raid. What has this patch wrought for us? Stronger AoE, a more powerful flame nuke, increased efficiency and a change that will have us shocking our socks off. Let's talk about some of the changes, after the jump.

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Filed under: Shaman, (Shaman) Totem Talk

Totem Talk: Cataclysm spell DPS trinket gear guide 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 and the Obscurecast podcast and founding member of TotemSpot.

A couple of weeks ago, I covered pre-raid gearing for elemental shaman. After a brief sojourn to look at what to look out for on the patch 4.0.6 PTR, I think think it is time we delved a little deeper into the ins and outs of selecting trinkets. This time, I'm going to cover both entry-level and raid trinkets, as well as covering the basic principles by which I personally make my trinket selection.

However, there have been a few patch 4.0.6 developments, and I'd like to take a quick look at them now. One undocumented change, in which Earthquake now consumes a charge of Clearcasting, results in the spell now benefiting both from the mana reduction of Elemental Focus and the increased damage from Elemental Oath. Benefiting from this change will require us to pay more attention to detail when using Earthquake, but I'm very happy with it alongside the 10% increase in base damage previously noted in past patch notes. We also get to look forward to an increase in the value of mastery, as Rolling Thunder can now proc from an Elemental Overload of Lightning Bolt or Chain Lightning. Our final cause for rejoicing is an increase in the spell coefficients of Lava Burst, on top of the 10% increase to base damage reported previously.

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Filed under: Shaman, (Shaman) Totem Talk

Totem Talk: Patch 4.0.6 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 and the Obscurecast podcast and founding member of TotemSpot.

Ah, the sweet smell of wipes. How I have missed them. My guild stepped back into 25-mans this week, and I am so glad to be back. Every time I take a break from regular raiding, I need a week or so to truly get on top of my game. The muscle memory needs time to return, and I have to learn the steps to the new dances in a way that makes sense to me. Figuring out a good time to use Spiritwalker's Grace, the best time to unleash my fire elemental ... These are the sorts of details I love figuring out for myself, and the satisfaction of returning to 25-man raiding has been great stress relief after a hellish week.

The return to raiding has also confronted me with the state of elemental DPS in general. I am aware that the gap between myself and the front-runners is down to personal error (a lot of the time) and someone has to be in the middle of the pack. In fact, the middle of the pack is a mighty fine place to be. Those State of DPS numbers only show results for the top 40 and top 200 parses, and being in the middle of the pack isn't what is alarming. What often raises eyebrows with these sorts of comparisons is the difference between the top few specs and the middle of the pack, not the placing on the scale, so I can understand why some players are upset. It isn't being middle of the pack; it's the magnitude of distance between yourself and the front-runners. Personally, I'm not too worried. I need to sort out my own mistakes first, and it's important not to forget that things change.

So, is patch 4.0.6 going to ease the pressure a little? A very small amount. The change that has made me smile most so far is the fix for the graphic bug that hid Elementium Stormshield when it was in the resting position. I'm glad to see Quality Assurance Goblins got it right on that one.

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Filed under: Shaman, (Shaman) Totem Talk

Totem Talk: Pre-raid gearing tips 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 and the Obscurecast podcast and founding member of TotemSpot.

This holiday period has been a mixed one for me. Power-leveling my shaman's inscription was a rousing success, and I put it down to all the mince pies consumed at the time. A delectable roast turkey lunch was followed by opening my Winter's Veil presents. There was snow on the ground, there was an open fire in the hearth. There was a Queen's Speech that should have inspired me to yammer on about how important team spirit and cooperation are to the shaman class.

Instead, I borrowed my mother's laptop to have a poke at pre-raid gear. Then I went to put the laptop away and, after a week of moving house, managed to do something rather nasty to my back. Ouch. Not to worry, there's nothing like a bit of Cataclysm to take your mind off the pain.

In Cataclysm, the process of gearing is much more intuitive than ever before. We no longer have to nab cloth or leather items to fill in the holes in our gearing. Look for as much intellect as possible, spirit or hit as appropriate, and then lean slightly toward all the haste gear you can find, filling in as necessary with mastery items. Don't worry about crit; it happens.

Blizzard has done a good job of allowing players to obtain decent gear through a variety of avenues, and as a result, a lot of the RNG has been removed from the gearing process. I did not make this to be a best-in-slot list, as I prefer to look at items available in terms of practicalities. Finally, you'll note an absence of PvP items from this list. There is a lovely amount of intellect on PvP gear, so in the short term, it can be worth using some PvP items. However, resilience represents a lot of wasted item budget and is not the best choice in the long term.

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Filed under: Shaman, Raiding, (Shaman) Totem Talk

Totem Talk: Cataclysm 101 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 and the Obscurecast podcast and founding member of TotemSpot.

We've had a week or so to absorb Cataclysm. I am finding it hard to focus purely on the details of preparing for raiding after such a short flirtation with the XP bar, because I'm having too much fun questing. The joys of using Thunderstorm to knock back an ettin or mercilessly delivering Lava Bursts to the faces of the Twilight Hammer are too good for me to ignore completely, so I am frequently distracted from practical preraid matters. However, weighty matters such as Tol Barad dailies and reputation grinds await me over the holiday season, so like a typical dwarf, I'll be taking my dailies with a half-pint of Thundermar Ale.

Experienced elemental shaman are already hammering along the path to raids, but one of the great things about Cataclysm has been the number of new shaman appearing, attracted by the new short-stature shaman races, dwarves and goblins. I don't think I know many people who haven't rolled a shaman sometime in the last three weeks. Even I've rolled another shaman! Now it's time to take a look at the basics for a max-level elemental shaman. Have you just changed spec from something else or just finished leveling to 85? Then this is the post for you, and it has been updated to patch 4.0.6!

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Filed under: Shaman, (Shaman) Totem Talk, Cataclysm

Totem Talk: Leveling to 85 as an 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 and the Obscurecast podcast and founding member of TotemSpot.

It took me all of two hours. The Shattering was finally upon us, and I had a wistful couple of hours looking at the draenei version of Caenerys. In the end, I snatched up my credit card and paid for the race change. I'm glad I did so; my gray-haired dwarf lass is upbeat, but she has more memories and more connection with the shattered land that we've all been called on to defend. Dwarf shaman are delightful, and I'm very happy to see so many of them out and about as part of the pre-Cataclysm alt frenzy! I'm just looking forward to queuing for Blackrock Caverns and finally getting to hear the reactions of my guildies as they explore the new zones!

As Joe points out, there is no right or wrong way to level to 85. More than ever before, the pathway to max level is a personal game. There will probably always be efficient levelling guides out there, but that isn't how I enjoy playing the game, and the new zone and quest designs make that approach somewhat redundant, in my opinion. I only had a few problems with leveling solo as elemental; for the most part, in my raid gear I was more than equal to the content, barring a few surprises, so don't panic! It's a big world out there, so here are a few things to remember while you're exploring the new areas.

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Filed under: Shaman, (Shaman) Totem Talk

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