Totem Talk: Swinging heals and lightning
So, here we are. For those of you who know me, thank you for contributing to make Blizzard Watch a reality and for giving me the opportunity to once again write for you. For those of you who do not yet know me, let me take this opportunity to introduce myself. My name is Joe Perez, I got by the online handle Lodur and I have been playing World of Warcraft since it was still a crazy new game and tauren ran through the plains instead of riding magnificent Kodos. Throughout that time, I have played the beloved class known as the shaman.
I tried all of the other classes, and while they were certainly fun, it always came back to shaman. It’s always been a class that spoke to me and made me happy to play, and chances are that if you are reading this you feel somewhat the same way. For almost all of that time I’ve been a healer, though not all of it (Lodur 1.0 was actually elemental until the guild was in dire need of healers for raiding).
I’ve watched the design of the class change drastically from one concept to another as the game continued to change and grow. Fun fact: did you know that the original concept for the shaman was to be an analog to the alliance paladins insomuch as shaman were to have a healing spec (restoration), a DPS spec (elemental), and a tanking spec (enhancement). This is why early enhancement shaman had talents that gave them improved armor or dodge and why shaman started with a one-handed weapon and shield! Obviously that was abandoned and the class took on a different role, but I’d wager you could win at least one bet with your friends with that little piece of trivia.
Several years ago, I started as a columnist for the predecessor to this wonderful site with a goal: I wanted to share my love of the class and my knowledge of the game with any who were interested. I wanted to answer questions, help people go further and do more with the class, and help them find the way they wanted to play their shaman. In short, I wanted to make playing a shaman accessible to all, and that’s what I’m looking to continue here. So I’ll be returning to sharing with you the all of the information I know about healing as a shaman in World of Warcraft: all of the stat priorities, all of the talent breakdowns, and all of the tips and tricks I’ve learned from healing the various encounters with different raid teams and compositions. Shaman healing is something that has remained unique, no matter what the state of the game or the content we’re facing.
In the early days of classic WoW, we struggled to find real purchase in the healing game, but it was at a time where most of the classes struggled to find what role they were to fill healing wise. Burning Crusade is where roles really started to be defined, and shaman became the undisputed rulers of AoE healing. Chain Heal was the most efficient and effective heal in the game and in the era of down-ranking no one else came close. This was further bolstered by the addition of heals like Healing Rain, Riptide, Spirit Link Totem, and Healing Tide Totem. In truth, over the years, no matter how many claims that have been made about reducing the effectiveness of blanket healing, or the “dumbing down” of smart healing, we keep getting tools and abilities to augment this role in particular. Even now, in Warlords of Draenor the role is evolving and it will be something that we will need to take a look at in the coming weeks.
Elemental shaman have also had their share of ups and downs over the years, and recently I began taking another look at our ranged DPS spec. As much as I love healing, DPSing has a certain zen quality to it that can be quite fun, so I’ve been taking another pass at throwing Lightning Bolts and Lava Bursts. Make no mistake, it’s been a learning process for me, but I’ve been having a great time relearning how to DPS as elemental in dungeons and raids. There are so many more tools available than the last time I seriously spent any time DPSing. I am excited to share with you everything I learn along the way, especially as I expect that I will be learning quite a bit over the following months.
Now, I have a ton of things that I want to talk about and share with you, one of the whole key points of Blizzard Watch is that it is a site dedicated to providing you the readers with what you want to read. Without your support we wouldn’t even be here in the first place, so now I need to ask you a very important question that will shape this column: what do you want to read? What do you want to know about restoration and elemental? What questions do you have and what can I research for you? Your input is important, so please, make sure you let me know! Comment, send an email, or hit me up on Twitter.
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