Home > Achievements, Cataclysm, Elemental, Expansions, PTR/Patches, Raiding, Resto, Shaman > Fire totems: Oh how I love (to hate) thee. Initial raiding impressions

Fire totems: Oh how I love (to hate) thee. Initial raiding impressions

The dust from the holiday shenanigans has settled down, playoff football is upon us, and many guilds such as mine are now kicking off raiding in Cataclysm. I’ve been splitting raiding time between resto and elemental, which doesn’t bother me whatsoever; If my switching to resto for a day means we start a raid on time, then I’m all for it, because I hate wasting time.

I actually find playing resto fun and enjoyable currently. It’s as if shaman have tools for healing any and all situations right now. The new “healing model” for Cataclysm has taken little adjusting to on my end, since my playstyle when healing already fit the framework Blizzard had planned for Cata healing. As far back as BC, I would always load up on MP5 (now spirit) on as many items as possible, for I am always afraid of going OOM. I preferred to gear for long fights, such as heroic LK during WotLK (a fight that could take upwards of 15 minutes for a kill). The resto shaman mastery, Deep Healing, works nicely in my opinion. It’s basically a form of crit that isn’t a chance; it’s somewhat more reliable, although I don’t know how exactly the game determines how much benefit your heals get on a target (something I may research on a slow work day, heh). I won’t advocate stacking mastery, mind you, but if you get some here and there on your gear, it’s not the end of the universe; worst case, you can reforge some mastery into haste/crit/spirit.

From an elemental standpoint, it hasn’t been too bad. In our 25 man runs, when I’ve been dps, I’m usually in the middle of the pack, leaning toward the top. In most cases, I’m within 10-15% of the top dps, which I find acceptable, since part of that can be attributed to level of play, aka me slacking. In non-gimmick fights, I’ve been averaging 15-16k. I suspect this number will go up in weeks to come due to not only acquiring gear, but better dps uptime due to knowing the mechanics of the fights.

One thing as elemental that’s been both a blessing and curse is our fire totems. It is a blessing that we are no longer relegated to having to be a “Totem of Wrath bot”, as I’ve seen it called (albeit with more suggestive language, heh). Now that we can consistently use dps totems instead of a buff totem, it’s pretty sweet…when the totems aren’t retarded. Searing Totem makes me want to strangle kittens at times. On many occasions when there is a target switch (aka one trash mob dead, on to the next one that’s right beside it), the totem won’t acquire the second target. I quickly learned to recall/redrop ST on the Omitron fight, because it’s insistence on hitting a shielded target caused us to wipe.

Then there’s our beloved Fire Elemental Totem. It’s a massive dps increase when compared to Searing Totem, but it would need to be since it’s a 5/10 minute cooldown (depending on whether it’s glyphed or not). FE, though, like it’s searing kin, has a mind of it’s own at times and will attack whatever it fancies, regardless of what mob has my flame shock on it. It also has a leash back in the event a mob gets too far away; this isn’t a big deal for searing totem, since it can simply be placed again. Not the case for FE, since it has a cooldown. FE also has a tendency to get insta-gibbed due to raid damage/mechanics, such as what happened to mine during Twin Dragons attempts in Bastion last night. I’m not sure what exactly gibbed it; there’s a pretty good possibility I plunked it down in a bad spot, or at a bad time, or both.

There’s an ongoing discussion of the fire totem matter in this Totemspot thread. There are a couple of ideas posted there that I find interesting, such as letting Unleash Flame, a spell seldom used as elemental, refresh or extend our flame shock’s DoT duration. A simple yet radical idea floating about is letting elemental shaman use the elemental totems (earth and fire) as permanent pets. The way I envision it, searing totem could be scrapped, thus relegating us to using Flametongue for the spell damage increase, then having the elemental function as a mobile searing totem. One downside is that it would lose it’s aoe DPS, but that spell could work akin to a mage’s blast wave, only without any knockback/daze (if they still have that). Otherwise the elemental turrets flame bolts at our target. The earth ele could simply function as a “tank” pet, which is pretty much what it does now.

Keep in mind the ideas posted here are 1. most likely not original, and 2. purely wishlisting, if you want to call it that. I’m not wishing for these things; if they are added, great, if not, no big deal. I honestly would never expect to have either of our elementals as permanent pets, even for just the elemental spec, since we would be treading dangerously toward being a warlock or hunter. I don’t see any harm in generating ideas, be they practical or ridiculous; any kind of idea could provide fuel for the proverbial fire that is the Blizzard think tank that conjures up the changes that DO take place.

Overall, I’m satisfied with my shaman experience in Cata, but that isn’t to say that it is perfect and is in need of no improvement. I’m seeing things, such as issues mentioned here, that could use some attention, but they aren’t game breaking issues at this point.

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