Thursday, October 2, 2014

Seven Commandments for the Everyday Shaman

Dost thou wish to ascend into the mighty ranks of shaman? Dost thou wish to be the sultan of swinging wind, a mighty wielder of lightning, and/or a commander of the tides?  To acquire this wisdom, thou must first learn and abide the following commandments:

If thou dost not know when to Lust, thy shalt never be a Hero.
- Translation: If you're not sure when to hit your Bloodlust or Heroism button, ask. If you're someone who is prone to hitting said button at awkward times by accident, move the button elsewhere. Nothing is more sad, or aggravating when certain mechanics are involved, than to experience a raid-wide cooldown being used incorrectly.

This also goes for you mages with your wibbly wobbly timey wimey...stuff, you hunters and your hysterical dogs, and those of you who decide that playing your bongo drums on trash is a good idea, so you all best be paying attention.

Thou shalt use Stormlash Totem as oft as possible, except for when thy shaman brother or sister hast used it first.
- Translation: Stormlash Totem is a rather potent raid cooldown that is often ignored by unpracticed shaman, or is commonly overlapped, causing waste. (Don't worry, Stormlash will be a thing of the past come patch 6.0!) Watch your buffs!

Thou shalt not override a thy brethren's Earth Shield.
- Translation: This is one thing that drives me absolutely nuts in LFRs - some other restoration shaman comes toddling along, overriding the Earth Shield on whichever tank you have it on. Don't be that guy! If you see a tank with an Earth Shield on already, put it on the other tank. More than two resto shaman in the raid and Earth Shields are already covered? Toss it on that noob taking damage over there! (Thankfully, another thing of the past come patch 6.0)

Thou shalt not use Thunderstorm inappropriately.
- Translation: Dude, seriously. You probably know who you are, but really. Don't be that guy/gal who runs up into the middle of a pack of mobs that a tank is dealing with and Thunderstorm them all over Diablo's creation. Nothing will tick off your tank and melee dps faster. I get it, it's an AoE ability. If you want to use it as such, glyph it.

It's completely acceptable to Thunderstorm people off of the side of cliffs in PvP though. Fair game, boomchickens! Or any druid really, now that Typhoon is accessible by all four specs.

If it spinnith, thou shalt not winnith.
- Translation: This mostly applies to my enhancement brothers and sisters, but can also apply to the unaware restoration/elemental shaman as well: If something, be it a weapon or mob, is the hell away. Just, run.

All circles on the ground are not created equal.
- Translation: If it's blue and wet (or green and leafy/gold and sparkly), stand in it! Almost anything else, apply the logic of the previous commandment.

If thou uses thine healing abilities while thine raid is healthy, ye shall perish.
- Translation: This applies to both the healing and damage dealing shaman of the world. One of the larger rookie moves I see made by many a shaman is a) to use Healing Tide Totem on cooldown, regardless of raid health b) macro Ancestral Guidance into Ascendance (there are rare times when this can be useful, but as a general rule it often ends up being a complete waste of AG)  or c) completely forget that any of these abilities exist.

Repeat after me:
+ Healing Tide Totem is not a rotational ability.
+ Healing Tide Totem is for raid-wide healing. Drop it a second before raid-wide damage goes out if the raid isn't completely stabilized, or drop it immediately after raid wide damage goes out to stabilize/heal the raid.
+ Ancestral Guidance is not a rotational ability.
+ Ancestral Guidance is for raid-wide healing. Pop it a second before raid-wide damage goes out if the raid isn't completely stabilized, or pop it immediately after raid wide damage goes out to stabilize/heal the raid. Best when used when you're able to use AoE abilities or paired with Ascendance, if raid strategy allows (highest burst healing yield), however should not be used exclusively when those situations arise, as the raid may not need that healing at that moment.
+ Healing Stream Totem is friend. He's just a little guy, but he likes to help heal people often. Call on him often, especially when there are people he can help heal. This goes especially for restoration shaman, but he should not be forgotten by enhancement or elemental shaman.
+ Mana Tide Totem is healer friend. MTT should be used early and often, but not on the pull early. Unless your tank(s) was awful and pulled while the healer(s) had little to no mana. (Soon to be a thing of the past, come 6.0)
+ When in doubt of knowing exactly when to pop your healing cooldowns, ask! Bug your raid leader or bug your healers. Go in with a plan, come out with loot!

Go forth and be awesome, so sayeth the Saz.

Writer's Note: While this article has been written as a comedy piece, there is a good bit of truthrage behind these words. As a veteran shaman, raider, as a well seasoned raid leader, all of the above are things that I notice on a regular basis. The commandments listed above are the things that truly drive me bonkers. I hope that I've not only provided you all with bit of a laugh, but also with some helpful insight on how to better improve your shamanistic skills. /salute

Writer's Note 2: I'm fully aware that I probably slaughtered the usage of Early Modern English. Linguist/literary folks, I apologize. Mostly. Kind of. I might only be marginally sorry.

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