In this week’s Totem Talk, Rich Malloy points out using Shock and Awe’s priority system as a guide for our DPS rotation “is a net DPS loss for experienced Enhancement players.”

I’ll take it one step further and point out it’s a net loss for everybody.

Shaman priority system

Windfury: The ultimate priority.

We’ve had quite a few posts on this subject, and I’ve repeated it like a mantra — there is no DPS rotation. While the guys over at Elitist Jerks take math to the extremes (bless their hearts) and tweak on down to the fraction level, it’s been established since early in the expansion that the beautiful new synergy between melee and casting gave us a unique system that couldn’t be simplified in terms of macros or “rotations.”

Simply put, you can’t be lazy when playing this spec, and macros are only going to hurt your DPS contribution to your raid. While that’s fine for heroics and older tiers, DPS spots for current tiers are almost always competitive, especially at the 10-man level. In a 25-man there are always a few spots for people to get “carried” through content…but do you really want to be that guy?

For my own set-up, I use Shock-and-Awe for one thing: to flash a small bar bright red and give me an audio cue when Maelstrom Weapon reaches five stacks.

That’s really all the help I need for rotation-specific, real time information. I stick to the standard priority system otherwise, and DBM takes care of my other split-second information needs. Everything else is purely cosmetic, and my personal preference has always been a clean UI — I find clutter only increases my chances of missing something critical and letting the raid down.

If Enhancement players were the type of people who are bothered by having to do extra work, we wouldn’t have rolled Shamans. After all, easy as it is to forget, it wasn’t until a few months ago that we had to set up each individual totem on every pull. Hunters, Warlocks and Mages don’t have to do that, and they can open up as soon as the threat numbers look favorable.

Maybe we’re spoiled by the revamped totem system. Or maybe — and this is my suspicion — the awesomeness of the Enhancement spec in Wrath has lured in players who might otherwise have specced Elemental or Resto, or rolled a different class altogether.

But I try to look at it this way — the more control over DPS abilities we have, the bigger the upside if we work hard. And that’s a wonderful problem to have.

Related posts from Stormstrike:

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

Patch 3.3: Enhancement Shaman rotations

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Comments
  1. Mòóse says:

    I would agree IF I could find another enhance shaman that could put up better numbers than my macro-enhanced one. Granted, it’s rare that I have the opportunity to run with other enhance shamans, but when I do, I am ahead by leaps and bounds. It’s not even close.

    I say this NOT to brag or counter the argument of a priority-based style of play, especially for experienced players, but rather to inform and give hope to the other 98% of players who love their shaman, but just can’t pull off the whole priority thing… to let them know that macros ARE a viable alternative to sucking.

    Except for my rotation macro, my play-style is very close to yours.

    I only use Shock and Awe to flash a LARGE bar across my screen when Maelstrom Weapon reaches 4-5 stacks. DBM and my macro take care of the rest.

    My rotation macro leaves me free to better observe the fights, off-heal, interrupt, purge and change totems as needed.

    Just my 2 cents. Hope I didn’t offend anyone.

    Take care and aloha!

  2. stormstrike says:

    No offense taken at all. Out of curiosity, what is it about the priority system that gives you trouble?

    I think it’s important to remember that any side-by-side comparison has to take into account lots of factors: Difference in Gear Score is one obvious factor, but you can have two Shamans with near-identical GS and one still has the advantage. (For instance, if one has iLevel 264 weapons and the other has lots of 264 gear, but iLevel 251 weapons.)

    There’s also role — is one Shaman kiting or going after Blood Beasts while the other is standing behind Deathbringer the entire fight?

    And then there’s talents…a guildie, who is also an Enhancement Shaman, has his extra points in Fire Nova, so he kicks my ass on AoE trash. But on boss fights? Not so much.

    But I’m about as sure as I can be that the priority system will outperform a macro every time, and the EJ math makes a convincing case to back that up.

  3. Ozhu says:

    I personally chose to roll enhancement shaman because it wasn’t easy and didn’t have a simple rotation that you just have to learn. I love the way the priority works, and how it changes based on situations. BTW: It’s a bit off-topic, but I just have to mention it; can’t wait to start using Searing Flames and to see how Lava Lash SF5 suddenly gets raised ’till (estimated) 2nd highest priority. I did some math on it and figured out that a LL with SF5 and Flametongue in off-hand could hit about 500% weapon damage! That is if the Improved Lava Lash talent adds to the already 195% weapon damage! Imagine how this could hit today: with my current 245 (I think, not 100% sure) crappy off-hand, that would be a 5000 damage hit(!) – and Ceuta would be mind-blowing! Could this make FT a viable option in PvP? Great blog!

  4. kazeko8 says:

    I absolutely agree, playing Enhancement is all about synergy. With haste and all that, there’s not clear pattern that we can really just set up as a macro. However, I shamefully admit using a macro for FS+ES, it fires earthshock once flameshock is on the target. I have both available on my action bars in case I need to break that pattern though.
    Great article.

  5. Mòóse says:

    “…what is it about the priority system that gives you trouble?”

    I watched a video that someone put up on YouTube of an ehnancement shaman on the target dummies. I realized he must have to keep his eyes on his Action Bar to “see” what to cast next. Honestly, I lack the skill to do that AND at the same time be aware enough of my surroundings to effectively dps/heal/purge/windshear/change totem/refresh LS…

    Using macros have helped me to increase my dps by a HUGE amount and, more importantly, stay alive. I used to die a lot because I wasn’t aware of my dropping health, and didn’t take steps to keep myself alive. Now I can stay alive, help others stay alive, and really enjoy all the different aspects of the game that I was missing, and utilize my character to “nearly” its full potential.

    I know I’ll never be as good as the top players, but I’m happy and more than satisfied with my overall performance.

    Now if my wife played the game, and played a shaman, she COULD do all those things AND change the baby’s diaper, get dinner started, text the older kids to get home already, answer a few emails, prepare her lesson for church and still have time to lecture me on the evils of playing WoW.

    Take care and aloha!
    ~Mòóse

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