No, Blizzard Doesn’t Suck at Enhance- You Do.

Since it appeared last month on the Public Test Realms, Totem of Quaking Earth ( has been underwhelming shaman across the forums, inciting nerd rage and massive amounts of qq whereever it goes. It’s not that it’s a bad totem, per se- it’s a direct uprade from the Gladiator’s totems of indomitability (, albeit with a few differences: Gladiator’s is a ten second buff duration, but is guaranteed to proc every lava lash; Totem of Quaking Earth is an 18 second buff, but only an 80% chance to proc on an ability with a 6 second cooldown. I’m not an expert on probability, but when you have three 80% chances happening during the time the buff is up, the chance of it proccing again and keeping a relatively high uptime seems pretty high. (If anyone could show me how to calculate this, I’d love them forever.) So, we’ve got a totem with a near-100% uptime that provides 200 attack power- not amazing (especially considering the Death Knight/Ret Paladin relics each give 200 Strength, a stat with a much higher ep that scales with buffs. 200 agility would be much more desirable, but the point is moot.), but seemingly worthwhile. Until, that is, you see the “Elemental Totem.”

Totem of the Electrifying Wind ( is somewhat comparable to quaking earth in that A) It provides a 200 pt bonus to one stat. B) Assuming 60 PPM (I sim at 61 due to gemming haste with the t8 4pc. Other people’s PPMs might be lower, but I assumed 60 for ease, because it means one proc per second, and for the purpose of napkin math I’m saying this is one static proc per second- no more, no less), you should be firing off an instant lightning bolt every 5-6 seconds, comparable to the 6 second cooldown on lava lash.  C) It has a high proc chance, albeit slightly less than Quaking Earth’s- 70%. It also has a shorter buff duration- 12 seconds, to Quaking Earth’s 18.

The difference with Electrifying Wind is that it has a 6 Second Internal Cooldown, which means assuming a lightning bolt every five-six seconds will result in your first lightning bolt not being able to renew the buff. This leaves you with one lightning bolt that CAN renew the buff before it falls off, at a 70% chance to proc. Your next chance to proc the buff would be at 15 seconds, also at a 70% chance to proc. Because it has such a high proc chance, my best guess is that you’d rarely go anymore than three-eight seconds without a proc, and at times would keep the buff up consistently. (Once again, this is assuming you had a static proc per second of maelstrom weapon- you will be seeing more and less than that at different times.)

However, this slight drop off in buff uptime can be counteracted by the fact that the buff is 200 haste, rather than 200 attack power. Assuming Unleashed Rage/Aboms Might/trueshot aura being up 100% of the time, the maximum EP you’re going to get over a 36 (Least Common Denominator FTW) second period for Quaking Earth is a static 220. I’ve seen Haste EPs of between 1.7-2.3- I’m going to assume 2 for simplicity. This means that if you get super lucky with your 2nd lightning bolt always renewing the buff, you’re going to see 400 EP from Electrifying Wind. If you get somewhat unlucky and you miss out on renewing the buff before it falls off and instead proc it at 15 seconds every time, you’re going to see an EP of 400X30(12 seconds + 3w/o + 12 seconds +3 w/o +6 seconds to the end of test uptime)/36(test length)= 333.33 EP. Still, 113.33 more than Quaking Earth. Assuming RNG hates your guts and you only proc it on your fourth lightning bolt every time, you’re still going to see an EP of 400X24 (12 sec + 8 w/o +12 sec +4 w/o)/36=266.66 EP. Even with the RNG Gods hating you (and I don’t think there’s much of a chance of you going longer than 8 seconds without seeing a proc refresh), you’re looking at a totem that packs a serious punch. (Note: On fights with a lot of AOE where you’ll be using chain lightning most of the time, Quaking Earth may be a better choice.)

Now, the irony about me writing an as-of-right-now 660+ word post about these totems is that you can read the front page of the shaman forums and see Enhancement Shaman being told to grab the Totem of Electrifying Wind. It’s easily accessible information. What is also accessible, however, is the rampant trash talking that has gone on about blizzard since this information has gone live. And, honestly, it both shocks and appalls me. I’ve heard everything from “Blizzard is lazy” to “Blizzard has no idea about how enhancement shaman work” (this one always gets me- they can make sure that pve dps for nearly every class is where they want it to be, but they don’t understand how the classes work? Dear stupids, stop saying stuff like this. <3) to “Blizzard is intentionally trying to nerf enhancement by giving it a subpar totem.

And honestly, the best thing I can say to this is “stop and think.” Please, for the sake of the mental health of everyone around you, stop being a turd and ask yourself a few questions. What is the chance of Blizzard not realizing that haste is an incredibly desired stat for enhancement, a spec that uses lightning bolt as it’s single hardest hitting ability? I’d say slim to none. Despite the fact that lightning bolt is in the elemental tree and lava lash is enhancement, and the fact that the totems respective spells on wowhead’s database say “t9 enhancement or elemental relic,” is there anything about these totems that say “limited to enhancement or elemental shaman only?”  The answer to that one is “nothing.”

Last question: In a game where half the player base is already complaining that content is “too easy,” why do we want our gear choices to be easy to choose and dictated by the fact that it “looks” like it belongs to our spec? Personally, I find that “I-don’t-want-to-have-to-think-about-my-gear-choices” mindset is pretty lame, as might be evident by this blog post. To me, the fact that Blizzard was able to design a totem that is highly desirable by both enhancement and elemental, made it ottainable through emblems rather than a competitive random raid drop, and then gave us another totem that screamed “enhancement” to fake out the shaman who don’t want to do the work to remain on top makes me applaud them. I applaud them a lot. /applaud!

Also, go go nearly-1100 word blog posts. I should be an English Maj–oh wait.


  1. P(buff stays up within 3 lava lash casts) = P(totem procs at least once in 3 casts) = 1-P(totem does not proc at all in 3 casts) = 1-(0.2)^3 = 0.992

    • Just what I wanted- thank you!

  2. Interesting – since my enh. shaman is my alt and not my main, although I like to read up on shamans, I’m not as well-versed at the math and all that – I just do the priority list that elitist jerks tells me to do, and I do decent dps. I never go on the WoW forums.

    I totally would have picked up the “enhance-only” totem. In fact, I’m two days of dailies away from getting my totem, which is the first thing I will be spending my Emblems of Triumph on (unless I should save up for something else – I’m not really going through the Coliseum or even Ulduar that much with my shaman, so I’m sort of stuck in a mishmash of Naxx, heroic, crafted, and beginner-Ulduar (stuff from FL, XT, Ignis, Razor) gear).

    Now I know to pick up the Totem of Electifying Winds, and if any enhancement shamans ask me about my choice, I’ll be able to tell them why it’s better than the other one. Plus, if I switch my other spec back to elemental (likely, I hate healing), I’ll already have the best totem for it. Huzzah!

    Thanks for doing the hard work on this stuff – I was good at math in school, but now I’m getting old (almost 30) and my brain is turning fuzzy.

    • Hehe, I know our Holy Priest/ Alt enhancement Shaman bought his Quaking Earth before I had the chance to talk to him. xD And, honestly, if that’s what you’re running on your shaman, the static AP trinket MIGHT be better, as lower gear levels means less maelstrom weapon ppm, lower haste EPs, no 4PC t8, etc, though my guess would be that Electrifying Winds does remain better.

      I’m very glad to have been a help!

      • How funny, that’s my set up (holy priest main/enhancement shaman alt, although I just dual specced her to go resto to get into some more groups, although healing with lazers is cool I much prefer the face punching) and I totally could not decide which totem would be better.

        Way to do the math for us!

        Keep it up Elam, loving the info and I like your writing style, it’s fun!

  3. Nice discussion, thats some mighty impressive looking calcumulationising you’ve got going on there 😀

    You are completely right about the absurdity of qq-ing about gear that doesn’t plop neatly into the same cookie-cutout left by your talent spec. Something I love about running as enhancement is the relative freedom you have to tweak talents and totems depending on what you’re playing. You can bump up the survivability, mana efficiency or group utility, or just max out the dps. I guess the same can be said of shamans in general, must be why we love ’em 🙂 Hmm…there’s a post in there somewhere. It just might pop up on in the next week or two.

    Keep up the blogging, and happy zapping.

    • I agree. It’s kind of the awesome part of playing a hybrid, taken to a very focused level. You’re not a priest bringing for+divine spirit, or a mage with brilliance- you’re bring 5% spell haste, 20% melee haste, 180 Str/Agi, Armor, Spell Power, etc…at the exclusion of other buffs. It’s customizable buffing!

  4. is totem of the elemental plane significantly worse than electrifying wind? esp if you dont have the triumphs yet?

    • Noo, whatever you do, don’t use elemental plane or splintering. Splintering is broken, and Elemental plane has something like a 45 second internal cooldown, so it comes out to roughly 1% haste. Save your badges and grab a dueling or hex, or arena to 1250 to grab one of the gladiator’s AP to lava lash totems, but avoid the heroism totems at all costs, regardless of being elemental OR enhance. 😛

  5. hmm well that’s another 25 emblems to gather on top of the hundreds I’ll already need, and now I feel silly because I didn’t look it up before hand. 200 str vs 200 ap doesn’t seem fair really. hell it should be 350-400 ap if anything… oh well.

    I’m not a haste junkie but I’ll take it especially if it helps that much.

  6. […] 28, 2009 at 3:33 pm (Uncategorized) I feel a little bit guilty. In, I spent quite a bit of time, words, and math showing how the Elemental t9 totem was better for […]

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