My first attempt at healing was on a shaman, in Wrath. Let me go back even further, to the end of BC, when Heroism (the superior speed buff imo) could be chain cast, totems were group wide only, and shaman were brought mostly for healing, but also for buffing. You could see 5 + shaman in a raid, one per group. Although Blizzard changed this paradigm, shaman were still strong. Initially I leveled a shaman to be one of the “OP” classes. During my leveling time, I shifted my desire to be “OP” to be “Elemental”.
Elemental was, if I remember correctly, average at best as a caster. Enhancement was good, and Resto was decent as well, but Elemental was just “ok”. But I fell in love with it. I fell in love with the simplicity of the rotation, the amount of upfront burst you could throw out, and the versatility you could bring to ANY group via totems. Almost anything that a pug heroic or raid lacked buff wise could be covered by a shaman.
So began the first time I raided current tier raids. And after collecting some off-spec Mp5 gear (back before spirit was the go to regen stat), I tried healing heroics, then some pug raids. I enjoyed the raw power and utility that Resto brought to the table. I also enjoyed some of the passiveness they brought, again, with totems. Healing stream, cleansing, mana spring; all glorious totems.
Cataclysm came, consolidated buffs (and totems with them), and gave shaman some new toys to play with, like Spiritwalker’s Grace and the Mastery stat (I happen to really like Resto’s and Elemental’s masteries). Although I did not see a great deal of time in Cataclysm on my shaman, I did manage to see end-game content, snag a 4 piece tier bonus, and rekindle some of the elements that piqued my interest in shaman from the get go.
Originally, back when Shaman were Horde-only, they were the perennial hybrid class (next to druids of course). They could heal stuff. They could cast some lightning bolts. They could smack stuff with axes (or a giant axe). They could tank in a pinch. They may not have been “great” in any one area, but they could do just about anything. That’s how I see myself sometimes; maybe not great at any ONE thing, but good enough in MANY things to succeed. However, Shaman are quite powerful in capable hands. They can heal ALL the things with water and earth. They can bring forth a fiery elemental dude and blow stuff up with lightning and fire. And with flame-and-wind imbued axes in hand, they can call on mystic wolves to aid them in smacking foes upside the head. They can even taunt.
But those totems, those lovely totems, will be gone come tomorrow, when patch 5.0.4 lands and removes those passive and buff totems. Totems that do cool things on a cooldown are staying, and the keepers are shifting to short-term buffs on a cooldown. They are also gaining the possibility to obtain new cooldown totems via talents. Glyphs will allow Shaman to show their totems when they drop one, but the days of drop-four-and-go are mostly done. So while I main a Priest of healy shadows, I still retain fond memories of my Dwarven (originally Draenei of course) Shaman, and the totems he dropped to aid his fellow heroes. Here’s to you, totems.