Monday, August 30, 2010

Shamans can aoe too?!

I've leveled alot of shamans, and one thing I really love about the class is that I feel like I learn something new about them each time I give it a go. So I am currently leveling my fifth (yes you read that correctly) shaman (although I only have one at 80, the others only made it to 70+). What on earth could be new with this one? Oh so many things, it turns out!

(hobo shaman is hobo)

Like I've mentioned before, they've finally decided not to leave shamans completely hanging on the aoe-front. Considering aoe is the only cool way to make dps nowadays, and especially in lowbie dungeons, this is extremely welcome. No more mages will be laughing at me behind my back because I can't keep up with their pesty Blizzard. Because you really want to spend all your mana on your aoes, the best way to level a shaman now seems to be enhancement. That way you can save all your mana on just Magma Totem + Fire Nova totem all while slugging your way through mobs. Melee is my main damage component, but Fire Nova and Magma Totem combined is like 60% of my totals. If you play as an elemental you have to "waste" all that precious mana on lightning bolts and chain lightnings, we can't have that. Also to be honest, elemental shaman is the most boring spec currently in the game. I've played two to 70+ (one to 80) so I should know!

At level 30 you get the possibility to put down four totems at once, instead of one at a time. when this was implemented in the game, like just before summer (it feels like, but I'm not completely sure), shamans all over the world wept a tear (or probably floods) in joy. That was one of the best buffs -ever- made to the shaman class, end of story. But because you want to place your fire totem so that it can hit as many enemies as possible, I still recommend you only have the other three totems in your Call of the Elements bar. This way you can place your buff totems wherever and then throw your magma totem into the fray where it makes the most damage. Since Magma Totem is extremely expensive, you don't want to put it down until you're absolutely sure the tank won't move anymore with the mobs. Being able to put down buff-totems like SoE, WFT and Mana Spring before engagin in combat is sometimes nice, but you don't always want your Magma Totem to accompany them.

What else is new? Well, imagine my suprise when I got a quest for a totem relic at around level 20. This totem relic, called Totem of the Earthen Ring, is an equippable gear piece which counts as all your other totems, so no need to fill four bag slots with your totems anymore! Go Blizzard! It seems Blizzard has given shamans alot of love recently, and the best way to find out about it seemed to be to level a new shaman. I could just have read the blue posts and patch notes I suppose, but this way is way more fun :P

Also, as for any weapon buffing class (like rogues too, and I've written about it before), it might be worth checking out which weapon buff is the best for the current level and weapon. One mistake I often see people at low levels do is assuming that whatever is the shiznit on level 80, will be the shiznit any level. This isn't true since at low level there will always be new ranks of skills, making them better than the lower ranks. In this way I noticed that at around level 40ish, Frostbrand Weapon worked better than Flametongue and Windfury Weapon (i.e did more damage). I got a comment about it, but I had tested it by combatting with each wepaon buff for a couple of minutes, and the statistics had its say. Frostbrand simply did the most damage. When soloing Frostbrand is comfy since it slows runners as well.

Enhancement also make for half-decent healers at low levels. I don't mean you should sign up for healing without a heal-spec or heal-gear, but don't be afraid to step up to the task if the healer decided to ditch you mid instance. Just tell the tank the facts - you'll oom easily and have fairly slow heals - and you'll probably do well while waiting for a new healer.

And while I'm at it, ranting about shamans, what the heck is up with Lava Lash? I have an enhancement shaman on level 80 too, but he's mainly resto and had elemental as offspec (I respecced my offspec since elemental is dangerously boring). I just can't get Lava Lash to feel like a worthwhile skill. I don't know what to do of it. Where does it fit into my rotation? Should I even waste time on using it at all? Even with my best of efforts it's like 2-3% of my total damage, which of course is better than nothing at all but still so incredibly bad that I wonder why enhancement even have it. The reason is probably simple enough, enhancement shamans actually occasionally have gaps in their rotations. Times when everything is on cooldown and there is nothing to do but to wait for these cooldowns to come up again. Lava Lash feels like a toy to be used while waiting. It doesn't really make anything, but gives us the sensation of using our wait-time in a valuable way. "Here, you don't have anything else to do so you might as well push this button". Please clarify Lava Lash for me, is it useful and have I just missed its points?

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