Totems no longer provide long-term buffs. All totems have short-term, situational effects."
Somehow Searing Totem seems to have been overlooked in all of this. What is the situation in which you decide to use Searing Totem? The one in which you want to do damage? In the current state of Enhancement, it is mandatory to maintain 100% up-time of Searing totem to attain optimal DPS. There is nothing short-term about it.
From my point of view, Searing totem is the definition of "anti-fun". It creates an unnecessary burden on the part of the shaman that does very little to add to the flavor of the class. It slows down what would otherwise be a highly mobile spec. It creates a high degree of improbability in what is already an RNG heavy spec. It is one extra step to DPSing in a class that already requires significant build up before we "get going". Transitioning from one target to another? Better put down a new totem. Every time I put down Searing totem, I feel like I am dragging a ball and chain behind me.
So what's the cure? It's easy: get rid of it. I have been reading on here constantly how people feel that there is too much dead time in the enhancement rotation, so create a new ability to take its' place. Make it deal approximately the same amount of damage that the Searing totem would do during the cooldown of the ability (probably about 10s) and make it so that your next damaging ability does 100% increases damage. This makes our rotation more fluid and allows the shaman to decide what ability they want to empower and would ultimately not significantly alter the DPS of the shaman.
When we were dropping four totems at a time, Searing totem had a place, but now that things have changed, Searing totem is simply an unwelcome hanger-on from the past.
Also, I only play enhancement and don't know how this impacts elemental and would love to hear any insight that they might have, but I can't imagine they like having it any more than us.