Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Sal's Shamanic Renaissance

Mists of Pandaria completely changed the way I play my class. In Cata, (I can’t speak for what happened before then) shaman totems provided buffs for the entire group. Spell power and healing were a couple of the extras that raid leaders and tanks came to expect from taking a shammy along. There was a button you could push that would throw down four totems—earth, wind, water, fire—at once, but the only one that helped with damage was the fire totem, and even then we didn’t have a choice. We had to use Searing Totem because of the haste buff. (sorry, magma) The other three kind of seemed like they were for everyone else. I would look at the group and determine if we needed mele or caster buffs, but mostly I just pushed the single button to summon the same pre-assigned four in every single group. Sure there were other totems that had utility uses, but those were mostly just for PvP. It felt like I was wasting like 15 other spells. 

When MoP hit, a change was made: instead of my totems providing enhancements, the buffs come from having a shaman in the group. That small tweak changed everything. 

Suddenly, we don’t even have that silly button and the only ‘requirement’ is that we have any fire totem down to increase our damage output. Now I can use Magma Totem to my heart’s content whenever I’m in a situation that requires our (admittedly) overpowered AOE skills. I have yet to meet a dungeon group leader that demanded certain totems to make their own dps higher. Just by having me stand there they get their buffs. I like that. Once I figured out how it all worked, I started exploring Earthgrab and Grounding. I throw down Healing Stream only when it’s needed and Capacitor Totem has become a normal part of my arsenal. What was once for PvP is now for PvME (I know that doesn’t make sense). My fancy Cataclysm mouse is now programmed for all my little shammy skills. A giant part of my game play consists of daily quests. The repetitive nature of them has allowed me to anticipate what mobs will do, what tools I need to use and at what intervals to survive and conquer. Dailies have been become fun. It’s a good time to be a shammy. 

MoP is a renaissance for shaman... at least for this one it has been. One very simple change—putting group buffs with the class, not the totems—made all three specs more interesting, a bit more difficult and ultimately more fun. I guess I did anticipate the switch to be more interesting, but what I didn’t count on was the time I spent playing with key bindings and macros, and studying different mobs’ abilities. I’ve experimented with reaction times and casting movement. I’m using my cooldowns more effectively and understand my class much more than before. Because of the change, I’m a better player. 

I'll see you soon, 


PS: Paris is awesome 

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