Totem twisting for dummies

3 03 2009

Okay, I always knew the theory of totem twisting but never really had to use it all that much in BC.  The design of the wrath encounters though means that I am finding my totems are much more situationally useful and therefore I often am exploring more with this sort of mechanic.

DISCLAIMER – I am complete fail at theorycrafting, so any inaccuracies are mine.

Okay, so totems are a fixed buff so long as raid members or party members (depending on the totem) are in range.  Some of them are a constant effect, and some of them pulse regularly.  Each totem is linked to a particular element (water, wind, fire, earth) which for the sake of confusion are also referred to as totems.   The rule is that you can’t have more than one eg water totem down at once.  The problem is that a lot of encounters could benefit from more than one totem of a particular element at once or over the course of the event.   In that case, you might want to twist totems – cast a couple of totems on the same element again and again.

An example is my poison cleansing totem which consists of a pulse which attempts to remove a poison effect every 5 seconds.  The mechanic means that you drop it, it pulses immediately and then waits 5 seconds before pulsing again, and in the meantime nobody is getting their poisons cleansed unless you are using a GCD to do so.

So one of my easiest methods of totem twisting is where there is an encounter (particularly a raid encounter) with a lot of AoE disease or poison effects and I am twisting one totem on itself.  In this AOE poison encounter, I might be the only person who can cleanse poison.  I have a cleanse ability which targets one person and consumes a GCD, and a totem which consumes a GCD and attempts to cleanse everyone affected in my party.  So I drop a totem, wait for it to pulse (which it does before my GCD is up) and it clears the poison from most or all of my party members, leaving those that I have to cleanse individually.  If the AOE hits again, I redrop the totem to get the immediate pulse.  I don’t waste a cleanse on anyone who is going to be caught by the totem and I minimise the number of GCDs needed.

If the AoE poison is more intermittent, then it is a waste having my totem down pulsing every 5 sec doing effectively nothing.  In those situations, I will twist it with another water totem (normally mana spring).  So once the totem has pulsed, I drop mana spring and get some regen happening before the poison cloud hits again and I twist it with poison cleansing.

There are even some encounters where there are both diseases and poisons happening.  Luckily enough for me I can cleanse both of those individually, and I also have a totem for each.  So I twist one pulse of poison, one pulse of disease, and then cleanse the rest individually.  On some encounters I might be twisting three totems on a fairly regular basis through the water element to easily clear debuffs from my party members and identify for me easily which people I have to cleanse individually.

Extra point for bonuses is that a lot of diseases and poisons cause nature damage, mitigated by your nature resistance totem which is nice enough to be an air totem.  So you can have that down while you are rotating through the different moves. 

The totem benefit can really be a communist effect, as it prioritises the most benefit for the most people in the shortest period of time, but doesn’t really prioritise any individual person.  By using the direct spell I could prioritise cleansing the tank first for example, but my utility means that I am more about efficiently clearing all of the raid as soon as possible and mitigating the damage caused to any individual while they are waiting for me to get to them.

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