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Posts with tag enhancement-shaman-totem-talk

Totem Talk: Leveling your shaman in Mists of Pandaria

Totem Talk Leveling your shaman in Mists of Pandaria
Look up in the sky! Is it a bird-form druid? An engineer in a flying machine? No, it's a wild Josh Myers, returned from summer adventures and bursting with knowledge about DPS shaman in his bi-weekly Totem Talk, which focuses on issues for enhancement and elemental shaman.

After one near-sleepless night, two ten hour leveling binges, and too many caffeinated beverages to count, Elamism's ascent to level 90 has successfully ended. You're going to be seeing a lot of words and phrases like "grueling" or "arduous" or "I had more fun passing a gallstone" going around the internet this week to describe the leveling process. From my experiences, I'd be inclined to agree...but I'd be wrong to.

The only reason this leveling was arduous was because a bunch of half-manic masochists with dreams of server first raid kills (a group I belong to myself) decided to try condensing a two-three week long leveling process into a 24-36 hour period. We skipped quest text, raged at NPC dialogue, wasting and spent entirely too much time ghost-running to our bodies because our sleep-deprived brains didn't realize the mountain under our feet had ended until it was too late to Parachute Cloak.

The one thing I did not rage at once in my 20.5 hour voyage to level 90 was my class. Shaman are a class that almost seem designed to rock at solo play. We have a strong utility toolbox, self-healing, and reasonable AOE ability. My leveling speed strongly depended on me maximizing smart usage of all of these abilities, as well as good decision making with my talents and glyphs.

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Filed under: Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, (Shaman) Totem Talk, Mists of Pandaria

Totem Talk: What to expect when you're enhancing (in 5.0.4)

Enhancement shaman casts elemental blast
Look up in the sky! Is it a bird-form druid? An engineer in a flying machine? No, it's a wild Josh Myers, returned from summer adventures and bursting with knowledge about DPS shaman in his weekly Totem Talk. This week will focus on enhancement shaman for brevity, but I haven't forgotten my elemental brethren. Next week, you'll have all my attention to yourselves.

Hello again, Totem Talk! I apologize for my disappearing act the last few months, but I started a new job as a summer camp director six weeks before camp began, which requires a phenomenal time investment during the summer. Also, my boyfriend got diagnosed with MS and my mom with uterine cancer, so my life has turned into a frost giant's stress ball. And, because I'm a masochist, I decided to start personal training, because I didn't have enough stresses on my schedule or my body.

But I'm back! Summer is winding down, and with its slumber comes a slightly less hectic work schedule for me, which should mean more time playing and writing about WoW. This is convenient, seeing as patch 5.0.4 releases this Tuesday, and I've left my league of adoring fans, frenemies, and people bored enough to read my articles without any enhancement or elemental guidance for far too long.

A lot of the changes coming in patch 5.0.4 are the very generic ones that we've covered in the past, such as the total overhaul of the talent/glyph systems for every class in the game. For those overarching game changes, you'll want to check out the most recent patch notes we've posted, as well as Anne's 5.0.4 primer. This post will deal more with the actual nitty-gritty of what's changing for enhancement specifically. This post is aimed toward maximizing your level 85 shaman during the month in between 5.0.4 and Mist of Pandaria's actual release, so that you can spend that month learning how to play before release.

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Filed under: Shaman, (Shaman) Totem Talk

Totem Talk: The confused state of level 90 enhancement shaman

Totem Talk The confused state of level 90 enhancement
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Totem Talk for elemental, enhancement, and restoration shaman. Once a lonely tauren shaman in a bad Scarlet Crusade-themed transmog set, Josh Myers is now a female dwarf shaman with pigtails who raids using all three specs on a regular basis. He kept the same transmog set, though.

I'd like to preface this post with an apology. I'm sorry, shaman. I didn't mean to disappear for the past month, but I started a new job this month, and the ensuing chaos left me neglecting my monster-slaying duties. On the plus side, I didn't leave you guys for Diablo!

Luckily, not much has changed for enhancement on beta since I slipped into solitude. And by "not much," I mean that there's been a single solitary patch note with class changes since I last posted. Flurry has been reduced to a 20% haste increase on crit, and you also gain a 50% additional benefit from haste on items.

This change is obviously intended to address our incredibly lackluster scaling from haste. It's very reminiscent of the change in patch 3.1 that gave all melee classes an additional 30% haste from items. Prior to 3.1, haste was a lackluster stat for enhancement. By the end of Wrath of the Lich King, we were gemming straight haste rating. When Cataclysm hit, shaman were changed significantly to do less passive damage. The 30% haste rating benefit we enjoyed for over a year were reverted, and our benefit from haste rating plummeted.

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Filed under: Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, (Shaman) Totem Talk, Mists of Pandaria

Totem Talk: Solving the problem of Maelstrom Weapon

The default Blizzard power aura for Maelstrom Weapon
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Totem Talk for elemental, enhancement, and restoration shaman. Once a lonely tauren shaman in a bad Scarlet Crusade-themed transmog set, Josh Myers is now a female dwarf shaman with pigtails who raids using all three specs on a regular basis. He kept the same transmog set, though.

When I try to think of what enhancement's most iconic ability is, a few come to mind. Windfury Weapon is a definite contender, and three or four years ago it would have been my default response. Seriously, though, what is Windfury other than a glorified auto-attack with an attack power bonus and a lower chance to miss? Likewise, Stormstrike could be iconic, but it's essentially a melee attack with both weapons with an electric graphic and a debuff. It's enhancement's Mutilate or Obliterate.

To me, Maelstrom Weapon is the answer. If there's one ability that encapsulates what enhancement is -- a brutal melee class that weaves instant spellcasts between their weapon strikes to harm their opponent or heal themselves -- I believe it's Maelstrom Weapon. It's enhancement's Death Strike, Arcane Blast, Chakra, or Raging Blow -- abilities that, at a glance, offer an insight into what makes the spec different from other specs in their role.

There's a problem here, though. If Maelstrom Weapon is enhancement's iconic ability, why is it currently so awful?

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Filed under: Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, (Shaman) Totem Talk, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

Totem Talk: Level 90 talents for enhancement shaman in MoP

Screenshot of MoP's new Ascendance ability
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Totem Talk for elemental, enhancement, and restoration shaman. Once a lonely tauren shaman in a bad Scarlet Crusade-themed transmog set, Josh Myers is now a female dwarf shaman with pigtails who raids as all three specs on a regular basis. He kept the same transmog set, though.

It's here!

As I'm writing this, it's past midnight Thursday night on the east coast, which means I could be referring to two things. If you're a preteen or, like me, you have a very odd and indescribable man crush on Josh Hutcherson, I'm probably referring to the Hunger Games movie. More likely, though, I'm referring to the Mists of Pandaria beta, which was released in the middle of the night on Wednesday. Probably.

MoP beta brings with it a lot of things, and chief among them is our long-awaited level 90 tier of talents. If you remember correctly, the first incarnation of this tier was awful, and everyone hated them. Fortunately, Blizzard listened to feedback and scrapped those, but new talents weren't included in the updated talent calculator a month ago, and we've been living in a state of suspense since then.

These new talents are all game-changers. The cool thing about them is that every one of them is going to impact your rotation in a new and interesting way, and I can see uses for all three of them. Those are the sort of talent choices that have me jumping for joy, and I'm very excited to see how this all plays out.

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Filed under: Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, (Shaman) Totem Talk, Mists of Pandaria

Totem Talk: Hit rating, expertise, and enhancement in Mists of Pandaria

Raid group takes on the Madness of Deathwing encounter
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Totem Talk for elemental, enhancement, and restoration shaman. Once a lonely tauren shaman in a bad Scarlet Crusade-themed transmog set, Josh Myers is now a female dwarf shaman with pigtails who raids as all three specs on a regular basis. He kept the same transmog set, though.

A long time ago, in a Mulgore far, far away, I was a young tauren shaman who was attempting to gear up as enhancement after hitting level 70 for the first time. Enhancement shaman who have only started playing within the last two years won't remember the confusing beast that was enhancement gearing of yesteryear, but it was an adventure.

First off, we gemmed strength exclusively. Yes, strength. Despite sharing gear with hunters, we got more (read: any) attack power from strength than we did from agility. More importantly, and this is where Mists of Pandaria changes will come into play, the enhancement shaman of The Burning Crusade didn't try for hit rating on their gear. In fact, we avoided it like a bear tank gemming agility avoids sunders on Warmaster Blackhorn. We did like expertise, which made the few items it existed on like Shard of Contempt best in slot, but it was almost never included on items, and there were no expertise gems. As a result, the majority of enhancement shaman ran with nearly zero hit rating and zero expertise.

If you're reading this today, your jaw might have hit the floor. Never, you'll say, while pulling up your character sheet and crying over the whopping 2,284 secondary stat points we need to put into hit rating and expertise. Yes, you read that correctly. We spend 2,284 stat points simply making sure we can actually hit the boss.

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Filed under: Shaman, (Shaman) Totem Talk

Totem Talk: Enhancement buffs and debuffs in Mists of Pandaria

A crab holding a sword with a wizard's hat and flavor text.
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Totem Talk for elemental, enhancement, and restoration shaman. Once a lonely tauren shaman in a bad Scarlet Crusade-themed transmog set, Josh Myers
is now a female dwarf shaman with pigtails who raids as all three specs on a regular basis. He kept the same transmog set, though.

I'm doing my best not to be excited for Mists of Pandaria yet. This is partly because we've not even seen a hint of the beta starting yet and thus have a few more months of patch 4.3 to play before MoP comes out. This is also partly due to the fact that my new guild just started heroic Spine of Deathwing attempts, and I'm not sure I'm ever going to look forward to anything ever again. Ever.

Even though I'll never be excited for anything ever again, Blizzard has released some juicy new MoP information over the past two weeks, and a good chunk of it pertains to enhancement shaman. If you still have the ability to be excited for things, this something you want to read. If you're also progressing on heroic Spine of Deathwing, you probably still want to read this ... if only to know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

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Filed under: Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, (Shaman) Totem Talk, Mists of Pandaria

Totem Talk: 3 reasons enhancement shaman should be excited for Mists of Pandaria

Pandaren kicking a fireball
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Totem Talk for elemental, enhancement, and restoration shaman. Once just the expert on enhancement shaman, Josh Myers has spent most of Dragon Soul as elemental, and he's not quite sure how he got there. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

I'm going to be honest: I still love Cataclysm. I know that it has a lot of problems, but I think a lot of the issues people have with Cataclym are that it isn't Burning Crusade (or vanilla, for that matter), and I'm very much an enemy of nostalgia. Especially in comparison to its immediate predecessor, Cataclysm has a lot of things going for it. Class balance is in a better place across the board than it was in Wrath. Even though Firelands was a giant explosion of red and orange visual vomit, it still doesn't compare to Trial of the Crusader's single room. And, even though we've not been amazing at all during any of Cataclysm, enhancement shaman haven't actually sucked during any patch, much less the entire last year of the expansion.

That said, I'm terribly excited for Mists of Pandaria. Part of the excitement is that for once in my life I'll have a horde race to play that isn't tauren as I hate all the other choices, and The Amazing Panda Adventure was possibly my favorite movie from 1995. Another part of the excitement is that Mists of Pandaria is new and shiny and it's only human to love things that are new and shiny. I love some of the new ideas Blizzard has cooked up for level 90 players, from PVE scenarios to companion pet battles. Yes, I was young enough to play Pokemon when it was relevant, but I'm also old enough to not be ashamed of wanting to play it again.

Most importantly, though, I'm most excited for the potentials changes coming to enhancement in MoP. Enhancement has had some pretty glaring issues for a good part of this expansion, even if we regularly remained competitive. Thankfully, some of the changes that came in last week's updated talent calculator look like they'll be on the road to solving these issues when Mists drops.

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Filed under: Shaman, (Shaman) Totem Talk, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

Totem Talk: What MoP talent updates mean for DPS shaman

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Totem Talk for elemental, enhancement, and restoration shaman. Once just the expert on enhancement shaman, Josh Myers has spent most of Dragon Soul as elemental, and he's not quite sure how he got there. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

When the Mists of Pandaria talent trees first debuted, I wasn't the most pleased DPS shaman on the block. I wasn't exactly displeased, either; my emotional involvement was most summed up by the word "meh." Stone Bulwark Totem looked interesting; Healing Tide Totem had me super psyched; and Echo of the Elements looked insanely powerful, stacked with elemental's mastery. On the flipside, the entire third tier of talents looked super boring, and the top tier of level 90 talents was so underwhelming that I almost wrote off the new talent system as a lost cause.

Thankfully, we're not in even the closed friends-and-family beta yet, and so I knew changes would definitely be implemented in time. I've been looking forward to Wednesday's talent calculator update for nearly three months now, and I'm glad to see that I wasn't terribly let down. While there still are some definite issues with the tree as it stands, Blizzard's already said that we were one of the two classes that it's currently focusing on, which is why our level 90 tier of talents is still empty. As long as the original talents don't come back, I can only get happier. To top it all off, the new talent tree reveal also showed us our level 87 spell, which is looking to be one of the coolest in our arsenal.

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Filed under: Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, (Shaman) Totem Talk, Mists of Pandaria

Totem Talk: The ups and downs of playing enhancement in Dragon Soul

Enhancement shaman mid0Morchok fight
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.)

I've said in the past that enhancement is in a good place in 4.3, and that's the truth. Despite some really awful itemization and some as-yet-unresolved issues with the spec, enhancement is remaining a strong middle-of-the-pack contender. In non-cutting-edge raid groups that don't have multiple Dragonwrath-wielding casters, we're even better.

Dragon Soul is a great instance for enhancement in 4.3 because it offers a variety of fights. Some play to enhancement's strengths, some highlight its weaknesses, and some fights are Ultraxion and your DPS spec doesn't matter, provided you can push buttons and click a shiny purple dot on his screen every 45 seconds. For the purpose of brevity, I'm going to assume you're familiar with the normal-mode mechanics of these fights (and if you're not, some are conveniently covered by my frenemy Tyler Caraway in the Ready Check column) and just speak to how enhancement specifically fares on these fights.

Chopping Morchok

There's nothing particularly special about Morchok for enhancement, except if you're doing the fight on heroic. Shamanistic Rage and Glyph of Stoneclaw Totem make Morchok's Stomp damage negligible, but Stomps don't really hit hard enough on normal to worry about. However, if you have a healer in line of sight during a black phase (and you've done nothing in recent memory that would cause them to hate you), Glyph of Stoneclaw Totem and Shamanistic Rage will let you stay on the boss for most if not all of the phase. If you don't have a friendly healer, enhancement still fares better than most melee on this fight, as cast Lava Bursts and Lightning Bolts still hit hard.

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

Totem Talk: The enhancement shaman of 2011

An enhancement shaman in very early Cataclysm gear
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.)

One of the nicest things about 2011 for enhancement was that it wasn't 2010 any more. If you've been an avid reader of my column, you probably know by now that I think that 2010 will most likely (and hopefully) go down in history as the year in which Blizzard tried and was often successful at driving droves of enhancement shaman away from the class in masse. An overcomplicated rotation that still gave us the worst single-target DPS of any spec in the game, terrible mobility, lack of scaling from armor penetration (worst. stat. ever.), absolutely zero competitive AoE DPS ... The list of the bad things about the Icecrown Citadel/Ruby Sanctum era is worth an article in and of itself. In fact, I think we've done a number of those in the past.

So one of the best things about 2011 was the changes made to address a lot of those issues. Ancestral Swiftness gave us the normal bonus run speed that classes like ret paladins received, and since Ghost Wolf was changed to be usable indoors, we're much better at maximizing time on target. Armor penetration was thankfully removed from the game (coincidentally, I'm fairly certain that 4.0 saw a significant drop in headache medicines to WoW players), and the awesomely cool mastery stat was added in its place.

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

Totem Talk: Leveling a shaman in the Cataclysm era

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Totem Talk for elemental, enhancement and restoration shaman. This week, Josh Myers, the dean of DPS shaman, and Joe Perez, the Robespierre of restoration, do a Dragonball-Z style fusion dance and combine their class knowledge to bring you a concise shaman leveling guide.

So, young padawan, you want to play a shaman. You're following in the footsteps of some of the greatest characters in World of Warcraft lore -- Nobundo Farseer, Thrall, and yours truly. Just know that you have the full support of myself and Mr. Joe Perez, and we'll only judge you a very small amount for not choosing shaman sooner.

The shaman class has three distinct specs that each fulfill very different roles. Enhancement, which we'll talk about first, is a melee DPS class, which means standing very close to bosses and whacking them repeatedly with blades or maces imbued with flame and wind. Elemental is a ranged caster DPS class, preferring to stand at a safe distance while hurling balls of lava and electrocuting enemies. Restoration, the last spec we'll talk about, is a healing spec, revitalizing friends by creating super-soothing puddles for them to stand in. Seriously.

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

Totem Talk: Gearing your enhancement shaman for Raid Finder

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.)

So, you want to queue for the Raid Finder on your enhancement shaman, but you don't quite have the required 372 item level for it yet. We've all learned tips and tricks over the year since Cataclysm launched to cheat the ilevel restrictions, like wearing restoration gear to inflate our ilevel. However, if you want to actually benefit the raid and increase your chances of downing bosses, those tricks are not the best way to go. There are multiple accessible 378 items for near every slot.

The first rule of getting geared for Raid Finder is to avoid Hour of Twilight like the plague. There's seriously only one drop in the instance that's worth getting, and that's the Clattering Claw. Dawnslayer Helm? Both our Erupting Volcanic Helmet and Scalp of the Bandit Prince put that ugly hit/haste helm to shame. Betrayer's Pauldrons are a possible good choice, if only because extensive testing by yours truly has proven that Mantle of the Fiery Protector does not actually exist. It's a myth. Flickering Shoulders of the Zephyr/Windstorm are both good choices to use over the Hour of Twilight shoulders, but getting a useful random enchant on an already random drop is not a sure bet.

Hour of Twilight also has the Cinch of the World Shaman as a quest reward. I'm so glad Blizzard decided to create an agility belt with shaman in the name and itemize it to be absolutely awful for the only spec of shaman that uses agility. Well played, Blizzard. If you're fresh to 85, this will unfortunately be your main belt choice, as the Firearrow Belt requires you to be honored with Avengers of Hyjal. However, you're a lucky shaman who has to run Firelands to deal with the itemization woes of the 4.3 heroics anyway, so you should be honored in no time at all!

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

Totem Talk: Enhancement shaman, welcome to patch 4.3

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.)

I'm going to start this post by talking about how excited I am. For those of you who've read my About The Bloggers, you'd know that I considered the last patch of Icecrown Citadel to be the absolute worst patch this game has ever seen. In hindsight, 4.2 was probably the second worst. Enhancement's DPS was mediocre unless you abused a gimmick. Our AoE was pathetic. Firelands was an exercise in trying to discern how much red and orange the human mind could take in before making us go totally mental and putting a fist through the monitor.

But now, 4.3 is here! Fresh, new heroic 5-mans are here, complete with a beautiful new axe for enhancement shaman who couldn't get Gatecrasher to drop. Dragon Soul has been introduced, offering various backdrops for your boss slayings, a new super-easy mode option, and mechanics that actually seem to favor having an enhancement shaman present. Most of all, though, we received a terribly needed buff to our AoE, breathing a new quality of life to being an enhancement shaman.

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

Totem Talk: Enhancement gear in patch 4.3

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.)

At first glance, the loot lists of 4.3 make me a sad enhancement shaman. Everywhere you look, beautiful agility gear is being marred by haste and critical strike rating, often found together. Since our mastery is such an incredibly potent stat, seeing even a single slot that doesn't have a mastery option could be disheartening. Seeing our final tier of gear have three pieces without any mastery on them is just downright depressing.

Never fear, though. Despite some really awful itemization, enhancement is actually in a really good place next patch. And by really good, I mean really, really, good. Besides some of the buffs I talked about last month, we've also got the beautiful 10% additional attack power buff, which is just some sweet icing on a delicious cake of shamanism. Combine that with a beautiful, dual-wieldable axe that has a proc that scales with our mastery, and Dragon Soul raiding shaman will be in a very nice place in 4.3. (Need some proof? Load this profile into Simcraft to see some of our projected numbers.)

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

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