Hunters - Stampede
This skill was a huge issue for me for the longest time. The only two ways that I had figured to deal with it was earthgrab (talent required) and capacitor (after delay) both of which are not ideal. In 2v2 even with my warrior safeguarding and fearing the pets I would still often get torn apart. After testing I found out the best way to deal with this skill is actually earth elemental totem. I used to not have this skill bound as its uses seemed rather limited to me as well as the draw backs of not having access to your fire elemental for a time. I, like most others, don't take primal elementalist so the elementals act 1/2 pets with no controlling action bar, but that doesn't mean they don't have and use certain skills. Upon being dropped the earth elemental will aoe taunt a variety of units including an entire stampede and tank them till the skill expires.
Stealth openings - Hunters, Rogues, Druids and Mages
These openings were one of the hardest thing I found to deal with. They usually involve a massive amount of burst coupled with chain cc. Early on I found myself dead before I could get off a single skill which as many others have found isn't overly fun. Even with full resilience gems and as much support as possible from my partner these sort of openings would easily destroy me. Currently Shamans are primary target #1 and until we get something to better manage being focused we will have to find ways to live. A few minor changes to my play style have improved my survivability significantly and its these few key changes that make a huge difference. The key is to survive. Use every tool at your disposal to live through the burst and the cooldowns. Get yourself and your team into a position where your godlike burst can be utilised, you are no good dead. Proper use of Rockbiter is probably one of the biggest improvements and has helped me survive especially against these huge stealth openers.
Some quick tips
- Keep rockbiter on while you are being focused, this may seem like the majority of the time but between the % dmg reduction and the unleash effect it can make a big difference
- Being quick on your fingers and getting off a grounding or capacitor totem can really help and disrupt a lot of a combo. Know the timers on mage invisibility in particular to get a good idea of how long until they will be forced to open.
- Using your trinket to get off Astral Shift, Wolves and Unleash can help a lot. You will often get hit by another stun 1/2 a second later but there is no point in saving the trinket and % damage reduction until you are 10% from dead. Until Shift can be cast while stunned/silenced this is often the only way to live through huge burst openers.
-Similar to Shift proper use of Shamanistic rage is important, you must weigh up the 30% damage reduction against the magic based cc clear. If against hunters and rogues its often best to throw it up immediately. Alternatively saving it for the Deep Freeze after the Ring of frost, Frost orb, Frost Bomb combo can get you into a good position to interrupt and start applying pressure.
- It is often overlooked that earth shock applies weakened blows, if no one on your team can provide it for you a quick earth shock on a charging in warrior can give you that little bit of an edge.
- For the majority of the pvp I have done so far I have ran ancestral guidance macro'd into Ascendance and my other major cooldowns. One issue with this though is that it often forces you to use your major burst cooldown at an inopportune time as a defensive cooldown. If any -% damage skills are used by your opponents the healing is less and even worse if major defensive skills are still available (Bubble, Block, Disperse) you often find you will get no healing and your strongest tool is wasted. If managed well Healing Tide Totem can often provide that little bit of help that you need while being focused and may be worth taking a look at.
-Being able to stick to a target is huge as it gives you the burst healing from maelstrom. If you can't get to your ideal target hitting anything in range can give you the few stacks you need. If being pillar kited taking a couple of swings at an annoying pet following you around until you can re-engage can give you a good hand.
-Depending on your play style choosing between Elemental Mastery and Echo of the Elements is often a wash. Having the extra burst from Ele Mastery can be nice and is what I chose for some time. Lately however I have found that the occasional double heal from Echo can be the difference between life and death. Remember that enhancement has a 30% chance to proc Echo which isn't too bad if you get lucky while spamming heals. While Glyph of Healing Storm will only affect the first heal and not the echo it can still give you the few seconds more you need.
I have found that some key macros can give you a big hand, a few that I use are:
Frostbrand / Rockbiter switching
/castsequence [@none] Frostbrand Weapon, Rockbiter Weapon
I have found that if you bind this to mouse wheel down it can give great ease of use to switch back and forth.
Mouseover casting, particularly Hex/Wind Shear/Frost Shock
#showtooltip Wind Shear
/use [@mouseover,harm]Wind Shear
How this works is if you have your mouse over a target the spell will be cast on mouse over, otherwise it will be cast on your current target. Just substitute the spell name for any you want to use. This is great to inturupt without losing your current target, to frost shock someone to keep them off you or to land a capacitor and to throw off a quick hex before popping major burst cooldowns.
I hope this has been of some use to the people who are having a hard time in enhance pvp at the moment. I don't think we are in a perfect situation balance wise at the moment but some minor improvement have certainly helped me quite a bit. I'm still not sure what we really need to put us in a better place, some minor quality of life changes, passive -% damage reduction, being able to use our tools while stunned and silenced, something to punish those who focus the shaman straight through their cooldowns or something to use against heavy cooldown usage. Any one of these would put us in a great place, we don't need much. Our survival has a high skill cap, we have to put in a lot more effort than almost any other spec but that, in essence, is half the fun... ish...