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Posts with tag shaman-elemental-totem-talk

Totem Talk: 2011 in review for elemental shaman

Magmaw, the first boss of Blackwing Descent
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.)

It's hard for me to believe that Cataclysm has only been out for slightly over one year, especially given how we're already on the last raid of the expansion. It's been a turbulent year for the shaman class, and elemental as a spec is no exception. Between legendaries, highly fluctuating DPS, and more tweaks to AoE then I care to count, elemental has had more than its fair share of ups and downs this year.

Tier 11: The lows

Elemental was not a strong DPS class in the first tier of Cataclysm raiding. Fights like heroic Halfus, Maloriak, and Sinestra brought our lack of competitive AoE damage into the limelight, while Cho'gall, Conclave of Wind, and Ascendant Council all highlighted how elemental's mobile DPS was terribly low. With Unleash Elements and shocks being our only mobile cast -- not to mention low levels of haste that left us with terribly slow Lightning Bolt casts -- and we really struggled to pump out respectable numbers on any fight that wasn't Patchwerk-esque.

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Filed under: Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, (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

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: 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

Totem Talk: Cataclysm consumables for choosy 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.

Please pardon me if I am a little food-obsessed this week. I've been watching The Great British Bakeoff, and they recently did a bread-making episode, so I'm getting a little fixated on the idea of some proper bread and butter. Ah, the simple things in life. Then Joe decided to cover alchemy consumables for restoration shaman this week, and my thoughts immediately turned to buff food, because quality bread and butter would considerably buff my happiness stat right now.

Consumables aren't likely to be the first thing on the minds of many adventurers, as they traverse the depths of Vashj'ir, but I think it is well worth have a look at the choices we'll have along the way and the materials that are worth holding on to. Stocking up a raid bag on the way to level 85 is an good way to ease the occasional pains of levelling and can save time and effort later on. In Wrath, my bags were well stocked with raid consumables by the time I reached 80, allowing me to get on with gearing, gemming, enchanting, and getting mixed up in that Sons of Hodir business.

Consumables make up a larger proportion of our total stats at the start of an expansion and thus have a bigger impact on the success of early raids in any expansion. If you're new to raiding and Cataclysm has drawn you in, consumables will be a big help to your initial raiding experience. Ensuring you have the right consumables can seem a bit stressful the first couple of times, but don't worry -- learn to love those snacks and light refreshments for the DPS candy they are.

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Filed under: Shaman, (Shaman) Totem Talk

Totem Talk: Elemental stats and reforging principles in 4.0.1


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.

The lead-up to Cataclysm represents an ideal opportunity to take the time to get re-acquainted with with the new principles around which a class revolves, without the pressures of normal progression raiding or leveling. I've always felt that the puzzle of perfecting a character can be absorbing even if you are not particularly inclined toward numbers and spreadsheets. Knowing the principles also makes it easier to adapt the common knowledge to your personal playstyle and circumstances. The new 31-point talent trees and three-tier glyph system make it much harder to go wrong with a basic spec these days, with glyphs so easy to swap in and swap out. I've found the past few weeks have been stressful, but there has been a wonderful sense of freedom in many of the discussions I've participated in.

In case you can't tell, my maudlin draenei is being supplanted by a very cheerful dwarf shaman with a much more optimistic persona! Despite my grumpiness about Panquakes of Doom, and the lack of aesthetic pay-off for Fulmination, despite the bugs with Reincarnation and the expected stealth nerf of the elemental T10 two-piece bonus, I'm really enjoying this tremor phase of the Cataclysm buildup. The more I investigate and test things, the more I grow to like them. Even Earthquake is starting to look good, albeit in a chocolate chunk kind of way.

Right, I was talking about shaman wasn't I? Ah yes. So there's a lot to cover this week, from reforging, to haste and mastery, to dots and totems and damage modifiers. It seems that the devil is in the details.

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Filed under: Shaman, (Shaman) Totem Talk

Totem Talk: Elemental mana management 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.
Before I get stuck in this week, I'd like to take a moment to share some sad news -- Zamir has taken the decision to discontinue his elemental DPS spreadsheed, ZAP!, which has been invaluable for many of us for the past year. Zamir has been something of a catalyst for the elemental theorycrafting and blogging community, so please send him some good vibes. You can still find Zamir at his Planet of the Hats blog, and he is also involved in running TotemSpot. We salute you, Zamir! (No need to panic, though, there are several projects in the works to fill the void.)

Last time, I discussed what the impending patch 4.0.1 meant for my beloved class. The original plan for this week involved heroics, sims and walls of numbers, but the issues with EU premades have rendered that hope a distant dream. Eleven-day queue, I bite my thumb at thee.

As for changes to the class, well, every time I see a changelog, I scan for shaman blue and feel a faint twinge of disappointment. Our totems have had some minor edits, such as a reduced cooldown from 30 seconds to 20 seconds for Stoneclaw Totem and a needed mana cost change from 7 percent base mana to 5 percent base mana for Searing Totem. Does this mean elemental is largely finished, or are we in store for some focused attention in future builds? A lot can change in two months, but with patch 4.0.1 on the horizon, I think our spec is likely to remain static for now. So this week, I'm taking a quick look at mana management, something that many of us have not worried about since Naxxramas.

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

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

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