No spec should be so terrified of moving, even one dependent on stationary points on the map where their totems are.- Ghostcrawler
The above quote is in reference to Elemental Shamans, in response to complaints that they must choose between buffing the raid (with Totem of Wrath) or maximizing their own DPS with our hilariously ineffective direct-damage fire totems.
But the quote could just as easily apply to Enhancement Shamans — every Enhancement Shaman worth his or her salt drops Magma Totem like a fanatic on every fight, regardless of whether they’re on a single target or attempting to do AoE.
My personal experience on fights with heavy AoE is that I’m almost always the top single-target damage-dealer, but far behind every other DPS class and spec when it comes to AoE damage. Onyxia’s a great example — my boss damage is first-rate, because I’ve taken the time to do my homework, as Ghostcrawler suggests players do. But my overall position on the charts — and my ability to contribute meaningful damage in AoE situations — is entirely out of my control because of the limits of Magma Totem.
A look at Recount will show that compared to Rogues, Mages and Warlocks, I’m doing fantastic single-target damage, but I’m several spots behind them on the meters. And the details show why — an ability like Fan of Knives will always be first on their damage breakdown, while mine is always melee damage.
The issue, however, is not position on the damage meters — it’s the fact that one class (Shamans) have been historically unable to contribute real AoE damage, and have fallen behind every other class in the game since Wrath of the Lich King equalized AoE damage across-the-board for every other class.
The solution? In Patch 3.3, Fire Nova Totem has been “replaced” with a new spell called, simply, Fire Nova.
Fire Nova Totem: This totem has been replaced with a new spell, Fire Nova, which is available at the same ranks as the old Fire Nova Totem. Existing characters will automatically learn this new spell in place of the totem. With a Fire Totem active, shamans will be able to use Fire Nova (fire magic) to emit the same area-of-effect damage as the old Fire Nova Totem from the active Fire Totem, not consuming the totem in the process. Fire Nova will activate a 1.5-second global cooldown when used and has a 10-second spell cooldown. The caster must be within 30 yards of the totem to use this ability, but does not need to be within line of sight of the totem.
The relevant question, of course, is: Can Enhancement Shamans take advantage of this change?
The answer seems to be a resounding yes. Over at Myrddin’s Shaman Blog, Slant has taken the time to test the new ability on the PTR as Enhancement Spec, and reports that despite the enormous mana cost, the spell is certainly viable for Enhancement. (The post also features some good information about test talents and the enormous mana cost of using the new Fire Nova spell as Enhancement, so I strongly recommend it to readers who are interested in incorporating it into their Enhancement DPS rotation.)
In the video, Slant’s using the new Fire Nova spell in combination with Flametongue Totem. Being able to drop Flametongue as Enhancement, while still having some form of AoE, is something that will definitely earn us the gratitude of casters.
But what I’m really wondering is whether the new Fire Nova spell will allow us to essentially stack AoE by using it in conjunction with Magma Totem. If it can stack, maybe we’ll have legitimate AoE after all.