Enhancement: Searing Flames and Fire Totems

Shaman
I've just been messing around with Enhancement on a Shaman alt lately and I'm finding a few things to be detracting from an otherwise fun spec. This is just my own opinion of course.

I was under the impression that the new direction for totems was that they are now a support system on a range of cooldowns. Yet I come to Enhancement and it seems that Searing Totem is a must for optimal dps because it empowers your Flametongue and Lava Lash.

Totems were probably the biggest reason I steered clear of the Shaman class for a long time so I'm pretty disappointed to find that Searing Totem still holds such a vital role for Enhancement.

I'm sure there are plenty of well-adjusted Enhancement players who love the spec just the way it is, but I would like to see some adjustments made to the Searing Flames passive ability and Searing Totem.

First of all, Searing Flames could simply be generated by attacks dealt with your off-hand weapon with Flametongue active. Flametongue would get stronger with each attack, stacking to 5, then Lava Lash would consume the stack as it does now. The player would not have to drop a stick in the ground at the start of every battle.

As for Searing Totem, instead of just a passive source of damage that you have to drop every time you engage in battle, I think Searing Totem would feel more in line with the other totems as a means to rid the Shaman of harmful magical effects and/or damage over time effects. This would effectively remove the need for a Glyph of Shamanistic Rage, or perhaps that glyph could simply increase the damage reduction.

If Searing Totem is to become a support tool, I am not sure what should become of Magma Totem. It just seems to be one of those things that creates confusion, sending a player digging through guides to find out when, if ever, it becomes better than Searing Totem. I'm sure PVPers love it for protecting flags and breaking stealth, so maybe it could become a Glyph to cause your Earthbind Totem to also deal damage. Maybe it doesn't need to be changed at all.

Any thoughts?
05/12/2013 06:57 AMPosted by Ascetrophis
Yet I come to Enhancement and it seems that Searing Totem is a must for optimal dps because it empowers your Flametongue and Lava Lash.

that doesn't really mean it's not still a support totem
and the whole building up without searing totem is a good idea. there is only one fault with it. you need to use lava lash all the time in your rotation. hence it would never reach 5 stacks. i dont mind having searing totem out every fight the only problem is it takes way to long for it to hit 5 stacks.
05/12/2013 06:57 AMPosted by Ascetrophis
First of all, Searing Flames could simply be generated by attacks dealt with your off-hand weapon with Flametongue active. Flametongue would get stronger with each attack, stacking to 5, then Lava Lash would consume the stack as it does now. The player would not have to drop a stick in the ground at the start of every battle.
/signed though I'm pretty sure I've seen this idea before.

05/12/2013 06:57 AMPosted by Ascetrophis
As for Searing Totem, instead of just a passive source of damage that you have to drop every time you engage in battle, I think Searing Totem would feel more in line with the other totems as a means to rid the Shaman of harmful magical effects and/or damage over time effects. This would effectively remove the need for a Glyph of Shamanistic Rage, or perhaps that glyph could simply increase the damage reduction.
I was actually thinking that it could work like a Lock's Singe Master. It deals a small amount of damage, then hots for a net gain of around 10% max health. It would be nice for breaking CC like Poly or Blind.

05/12/2013 06:57 AMPosted by Ascetrophis
If Searing Totem is to become a support tool, I am not sure what should become of Magma Totem. It just seems to be one of those things that creates confusion, sending a player digging through guides to find out when, if ever, it becomes better than Searing Totem. I'm sure PVPers love it for protecting flags and breaking stealth, so maybe it could become a Glyph to cause your Earthbind Totem to also deal damage. Maybe it doesn't need to be changed at all.
Magma is fine. It's situational for both DPS and PvP, which is how all totems should be.

Right now, and since forever, Searing Totem has been nothing but a long dot with terrible targeting AI and dispellable by autoattack.

05/12/2013 10:19 AMPosted by Tinyshock
and the whole building up without searing totem is a good idea. there is only one fault with it. you need to use lava lash all the time in your rotation. hence it would never reach 5 stacks. i dont mind having searing totem out every fight the only problem is it takes way to long for it to hit 5 stacks.
The cooldown leaves plenty of time to build 5 stacks, especially of it's generated by offhand hits. Flurry, Swiftness and Haste in general will build 5 stacks faster than Searing Totem ever could.
05/12/2013 06:57 AMPosted by Ascetrophis
Totems were probably the biggest reason I steered clear of the Shaman class

That's like staying away from druids because of shape shifting.
First of all, Searing Flames could simply be generated by attacks dealt with your off-hand weapon with Flametongue active. Flametongue would get stronger with each attack, stacking to 5, then Lava Lash would consume the stack as it does now. The player would not have to drop a stick in the ground at the start of every battle.


Then PvP becomes gimped, since enhance does not use Flametongue in PvP. It's a good idea to remove the Searing Totem mechanic from Searing Flames, but this is not the way Blizzard would see it done.

The idea I've personally had for a while is to have Flame Shock ticks grant Searing Flame stacks, and completely change Searing Totem to a higher DPS ability with a cooldown. To keep Searing Flame stacks in line with Lava Lash's cooldown, the Flame Shock ticks would have to tick faster for less damage (i.e. more ticks in the duration at a new damage rate, to match Lava Lash it would have to tick every ~1.59 sec to be available once Lash becomes off CD). This change would keep the class homogenous between PvP and PvE.

Searing Totem would become cooldown-based, to help with more sustained damage inbetween Ascendance. This would be VERY helpful for PvP, as enhance sustained outside of two ~10 sec abilities is utter garbage.

I couldn't say for certain how Searing Totem would operate under a cooldown - damage, duration, etc.

The current totem operates as such:

  • Summons a Fire Totem with 5 health at your feet for 1 min that repeatedly attacks an enemy within 0 to 25 yards for 60 to 80 (+ 11% of SpellPower) Fire damage.
  • I would personally change it to a channel ability (for flavor), the totem dies when it ends:

  • Summons a Fire Totem with 5% of your maximum health at your feet for 8 sec that channels searing flames at the target enemy within 0 to 25 yards, dealing 60 to 80 (+20.5% of SpellPower) Fire damage every 1.00 sec (benefits from inherited haste) for 8 sec.
    Cooldown: 30 sec
  • For the SP math I just did some napkin calc'. The totem is up for ~13.3% of the duration so it should deal 1.866x the damage (1.0 - 13.3 = 1.866, 11 x 1.866 = ~20.5). Of course this would be fined tune should something similar ever be implemented.

    Well that was way longer than I intended.

    In the end, current Searing Flame totem + stack mechanics are really clunky, and it's the main part that I dislike as well.
    05/12/2013 02:47 PMPosted by Shark
    First of all, Searing Flames could simply be generated by attacks dealt with your off-hand weapon with Flametongue active. Flametongue would get stronger with each attack, stacking to 5, then Lava Lash would consume the stack as it does now. The player would not have to drop a stick in the ground at the start of every battle


    Then PvP becomes gimped, since enhance does not use Flametongue in PvP. It's a good idea to remove the Searing Totem mechanic from Searing Flames, but this is not the way Blizzard would see it done.
    In PvP, Frostbrand adds the +40% Lava Lash damage that Flametongue normally adds so it wouldn't be a stretch for Frostbrand to work with Searing Flames.

    The only problem is FT is 100% proc rate while Frostbrand isn't. One thing I'd like to see is for Imbues to work like current Poisons for Rogues. They are now limited duration auras that function as if they are applied to both weapons.
    I was under the impression that the new direction for totems was that they are now a support system on a range of cooldowns. Yet I come to Enhancement and it seems that Searing Totem is a must for optimal dps because it empowers your Flametongue and Lava Lash.


    Non fire totems are. Fire totems are DPS totems.

    However, Magma Totem needed to be removed an expansion ago.

    /signed though I'm pretty sure I've seen this idea before.


    About 5 million times.
    05/12/2013 04:59 PMPosted by Hyjinx
    I was under the impression that the new direction for totems was that they are now a support system on a range of cooldowns. Yet I come to Enhancement and it seems that Searing Totem is a must for optimal dps because it empowers your Flametongue and Lava Lash.


    Non fire totems are. Fire totems are DPS totems.

    However, Magma Totem needed to be removed an expansion ago.

    /signed though I'm pretty sure I've seen this idea before.


    About 5 million times.


    So you would agree that removing Searing Totem from its current state of necessary-at-the-start-of-each-battle and having it become more of a situational utility like other totems would be a positive change for the spec?

    The idea I've personally had for a while is to have Flame Shock ticks grant Searing Flame stacks, and completely change Searing Totem to a higher DPS ability with a cooldown. To keep Searing Flame stacks in line with Lava Lash's cooldown, the Flame Shock ticks would have to tick faster for less damage (i.e. more ticks in the duration at a new damage rate, to match Lava Lash it would have to tick every ~1.59 sec to be available once Lash becomes off CD). This change would keep the class homogenous between PvP and PvE.


    My first thought was for Flame Shock to become the source of Searing Flames, but I thought that would be too strenuous for PVP because of how easily Flame Shock would be dispelled. Combine that with the shared cooldown for Shocks and it would seriously interfere with being able to use Frost Shock.

    I feel like in order to go this route Frost Shock would also need to gain a DoT aspect, be able to generate Searing Flames, and would then need some kind of dispel protection.

    To be honest though, the more I think about it the more I start to feel like Searing Flames is just excess baggage. You already have Flurry and Maelstrom as wind-up mechanics, Searing Flames just seems like a gimmick to force the player to drop Searing Totem. How often do you not gain 5 stacks before your next Lava Lash? If by some chance you didn't gain 5 stacks, would you wait to cast Lava Lash until you reached 5 stacks?

    If the vast majority of players really would prefer to be rid of Searing Totem, wouldn't it make sense to just remove a passive sea-swell mechanic like Searing Flames as well?
    So you would agree that removing Searing Totem from its current state of necessary-at-the-start-of-each-battle and having it become more of a situational utility like other totems would be a positive change for the spec?


    No. Searing Totem is fine (in PvE). You can't really make a dps totem into a utility totem, anyway. It wouldn't get used for the utility except incidentally as long as it does damage. Case in point is the t10 set bonus for Enhancement, which gave a 15% damage increase for using Shamanistic Rage. Enhancement then spammed Shamanistic Rage on CD for the damage increase and survivability be damned.
    05/13/2013 01:02 PMPosted by Hyjinx
    So you would agree that removing Searing Totem from its current state of necessary-at-the-start-of-each-battle and having it become more of a situational utility like other totems would be a positive change for the spec?


    No. Searing Totem is fine (in PvE). You can't really make a dps totem into a utility totem, anyway. It wouldn't get used for the utility except incidentally as long as it does damage. Case in point is the t10 set bonus for Enhancement, which gave a 15% damage increase for using Shamanistic Rage. Enhancement then spammed Shamanistic Rage on CD for the damage increase and survivability be damned.


    As I stated in the original post...
    As for Searing Totem, instead of just a passive source of damage that you have to drop every time you engage in battle, I think Searing Totem would feel more in line with the other totems as a means to rid the Shaman of harmful magical effects and/or damage over time effects. This would effectively remove the need for a Glyph of Shamanistic Rage, or perhaps that glyph could simply increase the damage reduction.


    Searing Totem would become defensive utility, not a dps totem. The damage of Searing Totem would instead be rolled into the Shaman's offensive abilities. Searing Flames, being just a passive mechanic that requires no thought or effort past dropping Searing Totem could be dropped from the spec entirely. Flametongue and Lava Lash would deal stable damage. If fear of high initial threat were the reasons for implementing Searing Flames, simply reduce the threat of Lava Lash. Frost Shock and Rockbiter are still around if the player WANTS to generate threat.

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