I finally got Electrika to 90 over the weekend (leveling is why I haven’t posted since last week), and somewhere in Pandaland, I suddenly had a “whoa …” moment of appreciation for the elemental spec that I had never experienced before. (I admit that I last spent a lot of time in elemental was prior to patch 5.0 and shaman deletion #1.) Oh, there was joy when Lava Lash procced like, three or four times and I had the magic instant casts. Oh, there was glee when I could mash Chain Lightning over and over and it actually cast every time. Oh, there was euphoria when I could use Ascendance and throw lava around like a madman (and look like one!). Also, the fancy upgraded elementals (thanks to the level 90 talent) are snazzy lookin’. I like looking good.
I actually like being a shaman now, to the point where I think I may make Electrika my main. I can be ranged DPS, which means I can compensate for my internal derp mechanisms by staying away from things that hurt. I’m tougher than a mage, and I can actually keep up something that resembles a generally accepted rotation. (Running around in circles casting Arcane Explosion is not considered by most to be a true rotation, which makes mage-ing suck for me because that’s totally the best part.) I’m more inclined to be elemental-y than I am to be warlock-y. And unlike hunter, I can switch to a healing spec, which means I can be useful in group situations or help my mostly DPS friends.
My conclusion about the shaman class in general is:
Shaman 1 to 20? Sucks. Sucks bad. Needs Earth Shield SOONER OMFG.
Shaman 21 to 60? Meh.
Shaman 61 to 80? Ok, you know, I can live with this.
Shaman 81 to 90? WHEE CHAIN LIGHTNING YOU @%#^&*!s! I FLING LAVA AT YOU! EARTHQUAAAAAKE!* THUNDERSTORM! ZING! ZAP!
There is ONE THING that gets me down, though, and that is the limit of 300k mana. It’s old news to most folks, but Electrika is really my first Serious Encounter with it. Ailabeth is my only other real mana user, so when she hit 90 and I had 300k mana, I didn’t think a thing of it. Besides, it’s not like it mattered for her. Dispersion! Mindsquid! If she runs out of mana, the party chugs on.
But for Electrika, there have been a number of instances where fights have dragged out and/or people have taken a crapton of avoidable (why is this tank in DPS plate) damage, and I’ve just gotten so low on mana, I can’t cast crap other than my dinkiest spells. I mentioned wanting more mana in guild, which is when a guildmate said hey, that’s unfortunate, ’cause 300k is all you’ll get.
So lemme get this straight – everybody ever can pretty much increase their health out the wazoo with gear, enchants, gems and whatnot – but I’m stuck at 300k mana FOREVER? Tanks can show up with 700k+ HP for cripe’s sake! Why, exactly, am I stuck with 300k mana, especially when casting IS MY LIFE? (Or, if I’m resto, when casting IS EVERYONE’S LIFE?) WHAT IS THIS MADNESS!?
Okay, so, three options. Better mana management, forget healing people to full because lawl, increase potency of heals somehow. I can’t ever tell if the third is happening with improved gear, because as I get improved gear, I get into “improved” situations in which more people show up in similarly improved (and HP increasing!) gear – from 90 normals to 90 heroics, and from heroics to LFR.
I AM trying to get better at mana management (sadly, my Passive Aggressive Mana Management technique won’t work in LFD parties, since I can’t ride on the backs of other healers … I AM THE ONLY ONE OGOD). But I confess I still like casting the costly heals for two reasons. One, multiple people are taking damage (example: everybody jumps down to fight Gekkan and chaos ensues), and two, the more costly heals actually heal a “worthwhile”-feeling chunk of my tank’s 700+ freaking thousand HP. My dinky heals are just that – dinky. Good to toss on a DPS or something, but when that tank is pulling lots of mobs, I need the big guns!
Wait, there are three reasons. People get tunnel vision (I call this DPS Goggles) and don’t see their HP decreasing and/or don’t use self-healing skills, which would help ease my heavy mana use. So I think the DPS can use that healthstone they got earlier while they think I’m going to heal them, IF they’re even thinking about something other than skill cooldowns and rotation. Communication issue much?
And I LIKE to keep people as close to topped off as possible, because it feels safer. You never know when sheeyit will hit the fan, and the more HP they have, the more time there is to respond to a drop. Sure sure, leave that DPS at three quarters health, it’s ok – except then the DPS stands in something, or gets aggro somehow, or gets hit by something big. If you are working on keeping the tank/yourself up and the DPS had the DPS Goggles on and didn’t see their overall health going dooooooown, then that’s that for the poor DPS! THEN of course mobs take longer to kill and THEN of course I’m going to run out of mana eventually because I only have 300k of the stuff, even with the Mana Tide totem (which of course has a huge cooldown).
Fel tells me I need to get the Riptide glyph and actually expect the other LFR healers to do something instead of trying to do it all myself. BUT BUT, WHAT IF THEY DON’T OMG.
Here’s another thing, though it isn’t related to the shallow end of the mana pool: how the heck do you select raid members that are not in your party? Thanks to running LFD constantly, I’ve trained myself to use F1 through F5 to select myself or my party members. This allows me to select others quickly, in turn enabling me to move my left hand back to the keyboard to move my character out of crap when necessary. My right hand is using my healing/totem hotkeys all the time – and they’re all oriented to the right hand side of the keyboard.
But when I’m in a party with more than five people, my method suddenly goes to hell. Well, the first five people in my party are fine – the rest are (possibly) screwed. I inevitably try selecting them with F6 and on, but that of course does nothing, so then I have to move my right hand away from my keys and up to the mouse, select them, then move back again – sounds like it’s not much, but for me, just because I’ve gotten my right hand back to the keyboard does not mean it’s in the right place, which means I may not be casting the right spells. Since I order my heal hotkeys based on the increasing amount healed, I may be healing too much or too little until I figure out that my hand has shifted a key or two over.
In other news, I lost a roll, pretty badly.
But it’s cool ’cause he’s my friend, right?
* While in the midst of an elemental high, please remember to heal yourself periodically. Dying causes extreme and immediate painful withdrawal effects.