WoW Totem, by Scott Altmann for WoW TCG
side from being an iconic element of the Shaman class, totems are also what enable us to offer a ton of utility to our groups and raids. But whereas in previous expansions Totems were designed to function mostly as passive buffs, in Mists of Pandaria, totems now constitute on-demand abilities and cooldowns. The following section will discuss some of the totems that will come into play at one time or another during your time as a Resto Shaman. Do note that the duration of totems/cooldowns listed here can be modified via the Tier 45 talent, Totemtic Restoration (more discussion of this talent can be found in the Talent section of the guide).
|Earth Elemental Totem||Capacitor Totem||Fire Elemental Totem||Healing Stream|
|Earthbind/Earthgrab (Talent)||Grounding Totem||Magma Totem||Healing Tide Totem (Talent)|
|Stone Bulwark (Talent)||Stormlash Totem||Searing Totem||Mana Tide Totem (Resto)|
|Tremor Totem||Spirit Link Totem (Resto)|
|Windwalk Totem (Talent)|
Note: Only one of each totem type can be active at a time, so casting another totem of the same type will despawn the active totem.
Resto Shaman bring with them two main raid cooldowns, which are not only unique in their visual aesthetic but also in their functionality:
- Spirit Link – Resto Shamans’ main raid (and tank) cooldown, Spirit Link Totem (SLT) provides two distinct benefits. First, for its 6-second duration, it reduces all incoming damage on players within its 10-yard radius by 10%. Secondarily, and more importantly, SLT normalizes raid health while it’s active, ensuring that players stay at the same percent HP while under SLT’s effects. SLT’s redistribution of health happens every second and is recorded as both damage and healing in the combat log. It’s critical to note that this normalization effect occurs on player health and not on incoming damage. So if, for example, SLT is active and someone in it takes a 1,000,000 incoming hit, that incoming damage will not be split among players in SLT; that player will die. However, if that player happens to have 1,000,001 HP, then the incoming hit would reduce him to 1 HP, and the next second, SLT would “heal” him with HP taken from the rest of the raid. It’s for this reason that SLT also makes for an excellent tank cooldown, allowing them the benefit of an “immediate” heal directly after a very heavy hit.
- Mana Tide – The totem that we’ve long been known for, Resto Shamans’ Mana Tide does not in itself restore mana to your teammates, but rather provides them with 200% of your Spirit to increase their regen during its 16-second duration. Do note that temporary-Spirit buffs (like those gained through on-use trinkets) typically are not incorporated into Mana Tide’s total Spirit granted.
Although the two healing totems in our arsenal are available to all specs of Shaman, their healing is buffed by Resto Shamans’ passive ability—Purification—which grants us 187.5% additional healing from their effects, making their total output incredibly powerful. These totems are also affected by the casting Shaman’s Crit, Mastery, and Haste values (see the Haste discussion in the Stats section for more information on what Haste breakpoints are applicable to you).
- Healing Stream – Whereas Healing Stream Totem (HST) used to be a passive party-only hot that was down 100% of the time, in Mists of Pandaria, HST has been changed to be a single-target smart-heal with a 15-second duration and a 30-second cooldown. Because of its low mana cost and smart healing, HST will be something that Restos will want to use on cooldown. HST’s mana cost can be offset by using Glyph of Totemic Recall to recall the totem before its final healing tick. (See the glyph discussion here).
- Healing Tide (see Talents) – Resto Shamans’ version of Tranquility or Divine Hymn, Healing Tide totem is a raid healing cooldown that packs a significant punch. This totem is only available if you opt to take the talent in Tier 70, but because of its sizable throughput when compared to other talent options, I’d strongly (very strongly) recommend that Resto Shaman opt for this talent. Like all other Shaman totems, placement does matter with Healing Tide, so don’t miss out on healing by dropping it in the middle of nowhere.
Although it’s never quite been touted as a major selling point of Resto Shaman, I’d be remiss if I failed to mention that we can contribute a good amount of DPS in an encounter (for a healer) through use of offensive totems and abilities. So, while I do think that there’s rarely an occasion where our dps will make or break an encounter, it’s always a good idea to know how you can contribute a little something extra.
- Fire Elemental – The best damage that a Resto Shaman can offer a raid group, Fire Elemental Totem has a 1-minute duration / 5-minute cooldown that can be further reduced via Glyph of Fire Elemental Totem (see further discussion here). In addition, if you elect for Primal Elementalist in Tier 90 (discussion here) you can empower Fire Elemental, increasing its damage by 50%, affording you control over its attacks, and making it possible to channel a healing boost on yourself of +10%.
- Magma / Searing Totem –Dps options when Fire Elemental is on cooldown, Magma Totem offers AOE pulse damage (within 8 yards of the drop location) while Searing Totem offers sinlge-target damage (within 25-yards of the drop location). Although neither of these totems will put you on par with active dpsers, they’re something we can offer when “every little bit counts”.
I’m blurring the lines a little bit when classifying all of these totems are pure defensive abilities, but when you’re in a pinch, there’s no doubt that you can ease some of the pressure with the following cooldowns.
- Stone Bulwark – A new talent in Tier 15, Stone Bulwark totem provides shaman with a small, scaling absorb that reduces incoming damage by a fixed amount. For more discussion, please see the Talents section.
- Earth Elemental – While Earth Elemental won’t do nearly the damage output of Fire Elemental, his main benefit is the ability to taunt mobs off of the shaman and nearby allies. His taunt, Angered Earth, is on a 5-second cooldown and is not applicable to bosses, so you can drop this totem during burn phases when Fire Elemental is on CD and you’re looking to contribute DPS. In addition, if you elect for Primal Elementalist in Tier 90 (discussion here), you can empower your Earth Elemental, increasing its damage by 50%, affording you control over its attacks, and making it possible to channel a damage reduction and healing boost on yourself of 10%. (Reinforce) Do note that Earth Elemental and Fire Elemental have a 1-minute shared cooldown, so they cannot be used concurrently.
- Earthbind (talented: Earthgrab) – Probably the best way to flee your enemies, Earthbind totem is something that Resto Shaman can offer in fights where add kiting is important. The talented version of this totem, Earthgrab, counts as a snare and not a stun, so be careful when dropping it around raid members as snared enemies will hit any player within melee range. Unfortunately, neither version of the totem will save you from a boss intent on total destruction, but they certainly can make a difference between an untimely demise from an untanked add and looking like a champ in the kill video.
- Grounding – Although Grounding Totem is something that oftentimes gets discounted as a pure PVP totem, it oftentimes can be a utility tool in a PVE setting, by grounding effects from both bosses and adds. Intuitively, grounding totem needs to be dropped before the spell is cast in order to absorb an effect. Unfortunately, its usefulness is something that can only be tested through trial and error, so finding those gems of application can be a bit more time consuming. Grounding Totem can be altered to reflect spells back at the caster (yes, even bosses) by using Glyph of Grounding Totem.
- Tremor – A get-out-of-jail-free card for you and team, Tremor Totem will allow you to break a fear, charm or sleep affect once every minute. Unlike Grounding, Tremor can be cast both proactively and reactively. Do note that it will not break a mind-control, so it won’t be of any use if/when bosses take control of your character.
Rounding out our utility belt of totems are two that can provide significant contributions in a raid environment:
- Stormlash – New for Mists of Pandaria, Stormlash is a short-duration totem (10 seconds) that provides a DPS increase to the entire raid. Common sense dictates that this totem be dropped during Bloodlust, to increase its overall dps contribution. Do note that Stormlash Totem’s effects do not stack, so if you have multiple shaman in raid you will want to make sure that you sequence your drops accordingly.
- Capacitor – Shamans’ AOE stun, it should be noted that Capacitor does have a “charging time” of 5 seconds, meaning that it will not activate immediately when dropped. The application of this totem in PVE content will be limited to add control, however it’s worth noting that a well-timed stun could significantly reduce damage on the add tank or provide him with sufficient window to reset bleeds or debuffs. (It’s another one of those totems that you’ll have to test and experiment with to find an ideal application). Capacitor Totem can be glyphed with Glyph of Capacitor Totem to reduce the charging time by 2 seconds.
- Windwalk – see Talents.