This is Part 2 in my 9-part series detailing the ins and outs of the shaman talent trees.
You can skip this tier if you want, because none of the talents are essential to any build. However, you'll probably have to come back to it to go deeper into the tree eventually. So, if you're still levelling, it's probably a good idea to skip it for now (you should have put 10 points into Concussion and Convection if you're going for an Elemental build).
- Earth's Grasp Increases the health of your Stoneclaw Totem by 25/50% and the radius of your Earthbind Totem by 10/20%.
This talent is lousy. Even with 50% more HP, your Stoneclaw is only good for distracting an enemy you haven't damaged yet. It can't function as a tank or anything.
And it only increases the radius of Earthbind by TWO YARDS. Don't bother.
- Elemental Warding Reduces damage taken from Fire, Frost and Nature effects by 4/7/10%.
Not a bad talent to have, especially in PvP. This'll help you last longer against most casters in the game, and comes in pretty handy everywhere else too.
- Call of Flame Increases the damage done by your Fire Totems by 5/10/15%.
For Elemental shamans, your fire totems are already going to be pretty powerful, and making them moreso is a good idea. But it all depends on how often you use them. You should be using Searing Totem or Fire Elemental on most boss fights, so it's worthwhile there. UNLESS you're going to be taking Totem of Wrath, in which case you shouldn't bother with this talent. More on that when I get to Tier 9. Here's a preview: don't get ToW unless you're raiding.
Basically, if you need to put points into one of the Tier 2 Elemental talents, you should put them into Elemental Warding if you need more defense, or Call of Flame if you need more DPS.
- Guardian Totems Increases the amount of damage reduced by your Stoneskin Totem and Windwall Totem by 10/20% and reduces the cooldown of your Grounding Totem by 1/2 sec.
Meh. I don't think this is worth 2 points. Stoneskin is kinda nice to use occasionally, but an Enhance shaman will probably be using Strength of Earth Totem most of the time anyway. Windwall is barely ever useful. Grounding Totem has a cooldown of 15 seconds. Does a 2-second decrease in that cooldown seem worth it? Not to me. Skip it.
- Thundering Strikes Improves your chance to get a critical strike with your weapon attacks by 1/2/3/4/5%.
Get it. Extra crit is always good, and it's a prerequisite for one of the best talents in the tree: Flurry. It also helps to activate Shamanistic Focus more often, which will help your mana efficiency immensely. AND it helps to activate Unleashed Rage more often, which increases the DPS of you AND your group.
- Improved Ghost Wolf Reduces the cast time of your Ghost Wolf spell by 1/2 sec.
The only reason to get this talent is if you like to do a lot of flag-running in Warsong Gulch and Eye of the Storm, and even then it's not all that useful.
I suppose it's also handy if you're on a PvP server and need to be able to run away from others in a hurry, but you're probably better off relying on Frost Shock and Earthbind Totem to slow down your enemies instead.
Also consider that Nature's Swiftness (in the Resto tree) can be used with Ghost Wolf to make it instant-cast. I'd recommend using that instead.
- Improved Lightning Shield Increases the damage done by your Lightning Shield orbs by 15%.
This can be a nice (though certainly not essential) talent to have in your Enhance build. With the recent buff to Mental Quickness (which now gives you 30% of your Attack Power back as +Spell Damage and +Healing) this talent can make your LS quite powerful. However, most Enhance shamans that I've seen use Water Shield, due to their small mana pools and poor mana efficiency. But it can be handy in PvP, where every non-Resto shaman is usually killed before they run out of mana.
- Improved Reincarnation Reduces the cooldown of your Reincarnation spell by 10/20 min and increases the amount of health and mana you reincarnate with by an additional 10/20%.
This can be handy if you're in a raiding guild, and it can be nice to have when leveling. But...there's nothing essential about it. If you ask me (and that's why you're here) don't bother.
- Ancestral Healing Increases your target's armor value by 8/16/25% for 15 sec after getting a critical effect from one of your healing spells.
This is pretty nice to have if you're going full Resto. The extra survivability you can provide your group (and more importantly, your tank) with this talent should not be underestimated. Remember that you can always spam Rank 1 Healing Wave on your tank to keep this buff up (along with Healing Way, a Tier 5 Resto talent), and every jump of Chain Heal can apply the buff.
You should definitely get Tidal Mastery (Tier 4 Resto talent) if you decide to get AH, and +Spell Crit on healing gear is easier to come by these days, since it's so useful to Paladins. And throwing a few crit and Intellect gems in your gear doesn't hurt.
Unfortunately, it doesn't stack with the Priest talent Inspiration (which is exactly the same as AH) but Priests don't get that very often.
- Totemic Focus Reduces the mana cost of your totems by 5/10/15/20/25%.
This is a VERY good talent for ANY talent build if you're doing a lot of grouping or raiding. Totems get expensive, especially when you have 3 or 4 down in each battle, and this talent can give you a significant boost in your mana-efficiency.
It's also worth pointing out that the mana returned by Totemic Call is based on the totem's cost BEFORE talents are considered, so if you're on the ball, you're saving 50% on your totems.
Another neat thing is that your Poison and Disease Cleansing Totems actually cost LESS MANA than your single-target Poison and Disease Cleansing spells with TF.