Let’s lighten up a bit this Friday and think about something a bit more fun and lighthearted than raiding formats: Alts!
When I turned my Restoration Shaman into an Elemental Shaman I threw myself into it 100%. I stopped queuing as a Healer and suffered the longer wait times for the chance to play as Elemental and become familiar with the Elemental abilities in my spell book. I like to take the dungeon time on a new character as an opportunity (I can’t use the word “journey” without sounding like a contestant in yet another reality TV show) to experiment and really try and learn how to play well. The Emblems are a nice bonus, of course. /wink
I guess I had completely tuned out when 3.3 was released and they changed a Shaman’s Fire Nova Totem by turning it into a spell, instead of a totem long forgotten in our spell books. The new Fire Nova is an AoE spell that sends a blast wave of damage out from wherever you dropped your fire totem. It’s such a cool spell! I can’t believe I didn’t know about it, and use it, for weeks.
It’s a lucky thing I found out about it at all. I was reviewing an Elemental Shaman application and was a bit surprised to find that thinking (and theorycrafting) talents and glyphs for Elemental Shaman had changed a bit since I first activated Dual Specialisation. I was definitely behind the times. A few articles I read made mention of the change to Fire Totems in patch 3.3 but nobody seemed to come out and just say: “Wake up! There’s a new AoE spell for all Shaman!”.
Then I stumbled across a demonstration of Fire Nova:
[youtube TJYqlQUFkDc nolink]
How cool is that?
The new Fire Nova spell slots in nicely into whats-not-on-cooldown-right-now? rotation. But the strange thing about the Elemental Shaman, to me anyway, is that you don’t really have different cast rotations for different situations. Single target or multi-target you still end up casting pretty much the same sequence: Chain Lightning, Flame Shock + Lava Burst and Lightning Bolt.
What I mean is that both the Priest and the Mage feel like they have a definite toggle switch when they go into AoE mode. If it could be translated into a macro I think it would look something like this:
#showtooltip Mind Sear
/RW AoE Time!
/emote says no time for DoTs now!
/cast Mind Sear
/cast Mind Sear
/cast Mind Sear
/emote can’t believe there’s still one mob alive!
/cast Mind Flay
And, please, don’t actually make that macro. The Elemental Shaman kind of sits somewhere in the middle, treating all fights like there are 2-3 enemies present. And god forbid there are multiple mobs hanging around that you’re not meant to kill.
Combine Fire Nova into a cooldown based rotation with some slightly tricky situational requirements you actually end up with a pretty interesting spell to use. Before hitting your Fire Nova key you need to consider:
- Do I have some kind of Fire totem down?
- Where is my totem and are the mobs within range of it? If it is too far away is it worth dropping a totem closer, using a global cooldown to do so, in order to use Fire Nova?
- Will 3 or more mobs be hit?
If you’re going for max DPS – in other words, standard operating procedure for Heroics – you can place down Magma Totem at the feet of your mobs, cast Chain Lightning, then hit Fire Nova while Chain Lightning is on cooldown. That’s three sources of AoE damage: Magma, Chain Lightning, Fire Nova.
All up, not quite as impressive as the damage from a Shadow Priest’s Mind Sear, but then again, who cares? It’s a hell of a lot more fun, and more of a challenge, to pull off!
There’s one little problem. Mobs like to stomp on my totems. If I place my 4 totems in advance, dropping Magma from the word “go”, often it’s already been killed when I go to hit my Fire Nova button. This is an even worse problem for me when soloing – presumably because my totem so easily out-threats me early on. I think what I need is a macro which will place a new Magma totem if I don’t have a current Fire totem. Any suggestions? Is that even possible?
The strange thing about Fire Nova, well when paired with Magma totem, is that your Magma totem kind of requires you to run into melee range before placing your totems. The range on Magma is only 8 yards, so there’s no point in standing safely at 36 yards, dropping it, then winding up a Chain Lightning. I mean, you might was well skip Magma and go straight for the “passive” spell power buff from Totem of Wrath which will cover everyone in 40 yards.
The speed of your average Heroic pushes me to play like a melee spell caster. I keep pace with the tank, stand right next to the Rogue and drop my four totems, including Magma, right on the mobs. Then, instead of wasting time running back out to the healer, I just stand still and start casting. So far, this hasn’t gotten me into any grief. There isn’t as many deadly, whirlwind-ing enemies as you might first think. I think the range limitations would annoy me in a raid, but in Heroics it’s quite fun to pretend to be neither melee or ranged… and be something strange in between.
Once I sort out some kind of Fire Nova macro which checks for an existing Fire totem I’ll be set. Any tips or tricks would be most appreciated. This Elemental Shaman still has a lot to learn.
ps. Spell travel time sucks.