After two in-depth posts on talent spec options for Enhancement Shamans in Patch 3.3, it’s time to take a look at rotations.

Six days into Patch 3.3, I’ve had the chance to run a wide-ranging number of encounters, giving me an opportunity to test Fire Nova — the most significant change for Enhancement — in circumstances you simply can’t replicate with a target dummy. Forays into the Frozen Halls, Icecrown Citadel, Trial of the Crusader, Ulduar and OS 3D have given better insight into the situational value of Fire Nova and its priority in an Enhancement rotation.

With talents and current high-end gear, Fire Nova can crit for 5k or more on each target it hits. The spell really shines because we can stack it with any fire totem we want — including Magma Totem — while simultaneously using our melee attacks. The result is a dramatic improvement in DPS on fights involving lots of adds, as well as a solid boost to single-target DPS.

Of course, calling an Enhancement Shaman’s ability range a “rotation” is a bit misleading, because ever since Patch 3.0, we’ve had a priority system. Patch 3.3 doesn’t change that — the first priority in any situation is using a Maelstrom Weapon five-stack.

Enhancement Shaman Rotations in Patch 3.3 (World of Warcraft)

This rotation's kinda trippy.

An Enhancement Shaman’s second priority also remains the same with Stormstrike. With its built-in debuff and Glyph of Stormstrike, not only does the attack do decent damage on its own, it also makes our Earth Shocks, Lightning Bolts and Lightning Shield hit harder.

From there, things get a bit tricky. On a single-target fight, Earth Shock is usually a better bet than Fire Nova. Against one target, it simply hits harder.

But on boss fights with adds, or AoE pulls, Fire Nova surpasses Earth Shock and should be used first.

On boss fights, I like to use Lava Lash early as well — the 400 AP proc from Totem of Quaking Earth almost always activates on the First Lava lash. The high proc rate makes it possible to achieve near-100% uptime, which is well worth at least one global cooldown every 18 seconds, the duration of the buff.

Of course, Fire Nova doesn’t work without an active fire totem in play, so re-dropping Magma, Searing or Flametongue should always be a priority after Maelstrom Weapon five-stacks and Stormstrike.

Unsurprisingly, the TL;DR version is this: We don’t have a rotation. If you’re an Enhancement Shaman and you’re using a rotation, you’re doing it wrong and gimping your own DPS in the process. I’ve seen posts from some players who claim they use sequence macros, and I just don’t see how that’s possible given the range of options available to us and the varying effectiveness of those options.

In Patch 3.3 more than ever, the best Enhancement Shaman “rotation” involves paying attention and selecting the most effective ability for each encounter and each moment. Some people see that as too much “work.” If you’re one of those people, perhaps you might be interested in a Hunter or Warlock alt?

Related posts from Stormstrike:

Patch 3.3: Enhancement Shaman Talent Specs, Now With More Fire Nova

Lord Marrowgar down! The fight, from a melee perspective

The Frozen Halls: Enhancement Shaman Gear

More than just Gear(Score): An interview with Gear Score’s developer

  1. […] Shaman, Shaman Theorycraft, Static Shock, Talent Specs, Windfury « Where the hilts at? Patch 3.3: Enhancement Shaman rotations […]

    • Eric says:

      In regards to the talent tree build, I see the need to make sacrifices to place talent points into improved fire nova, but Im not too sure that i should leave points out of improved WF totem. Wouldnt sacrificing points from improved stormstrike be more beneficail given that shamanistic rage grants a large portion of mana when used?

  2. Liloldme says:

    Sorry mate but you have it wrong (the PQ) 🙂
    The correct pq for best dps (either single or multi-target) is MWx5 Lightning Bolt, Magma Totem, Fire Nova, Earth Shock if Stormstrike debuff, Stormstrike, Earth Shock, Lava Lash and Lightning Shield refresh, coupled with Fire Nova Glyph, Feral Spirit Glyph and Stormstrike Glyph.
    Be wary to have 1/2 Imp SS and Elemental Focus 1/1 to not have any mana problems.
    PS: Use Totem of Electrifying Wind, it’s the better option, and gem full haste.

  3. Penelo says:

    Wow, yeah ive been asking people around about how to maximise dps through rotation. there really isnt one. Thanks for the great advice!

  4. Where you write Fire Nova, do you mean Flame shock?

    I don’t see why using Fire Nova and Earth Shock should be mutually exclusive which is how I read some of your article…

  5. Dano says:

    I want to know also about the previous post question
    Where is the detail about flame shock?

  6. dbugg says:

    he is correct when he says that we do not have a rotation. it is very hard for us to have a rotation if not impossiable.

  7. stormstrike says:

    This post was written before the recent changes to Flame Shock. The short answer is, sim it and find out for yourself if it’s worth using in your rotation, or when it may be situational.

    Liloldme – it’s great that you have your own optimal rotation, but it’s misleading to say Magma and Fire Nova should always be first in the priority system.

    If there are a ton of adds, then yeah, that may be true in certain situations. But on most boss fights (when the DPS “matters”) you’re going to get a lot more DPS benefit from prioritizing Earth Shock and Lava Lash. Fire Nova can be a non-critting dud, and on a single target like a boss that can be small, like 2.k. But Earth Shock has a much bigger high-end with crits (14k+ for optimally geared) and hits harder on non-crits too.

    For the people who ask why it seems like Earth Shock and Fire Nova seem “mutually exclusive” in the language of the blog post — they’re not. But I should have made it more clear that I was thinking in terms of using global cooldowns for the maximum DPS option.

    So if you have a free GCD and both Earth Shock and Fire Nova are off cooldown, which should you choose? In most cases, Earth Shock, but with lots of adds, Fire Nova is the better use of that GCD.

  8. stormstrike says:

    And I’d also like to add that the conclusion perfectly supports the blog post — we don’t have a rotation, just a priority system.

    If you have a spare GCD to use on Earth Shock or Fire Nova, the priority system should take into account the number of targets and the greatest possible benefit.

    I’m convinced those players who have come to spam Fire Nova will see their numbers jump if they re-prioritize Earth Shock on single-target boss fights, and highly mobile fights. At the same time, I doubt any Enhancement player fails to capitalize on using FN during big trash packs and add-heavy encounters.

  9. lavalashing says:

    for liloldme in you priority you said use earth shock if stormstrike debuff but you have stormstrike afterwards wouldnt that be reversed?

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