This is a post on a Blog Azeroth Shared Topic of how to survive PvE DPS for my class/spec, that being Enhancement Shaman! I am mostly talking about instances and raids here.
Earth Elemental Totem is on a 10 minute cool down, but in a tight spot, this guy will save you. He's got an AOE taunt which will pull aggro onto him, and is tough enough to survive for several seconds while you beat a hasty retreat, or the tank regains aggro.
Hex is the business and can be used to frog a loose mob who has taken a liking to you. It is on a 45 second cooldown so the tank needs to regain aggro before it pops.
Wind Shear is what I use if I somehow pull aggro, or Omen is warning me I am close to the tank's threat. It is also good practise to interrupt any spell you see being cast (unless you are assigned to a specific spell, of course) because some mobs do AOE casts which will hurt you as well as your faithful tank.
There are some talents such as Toughness or Anticipation you can take which will increase your survivability. Toughness is a minor health increase and as such is effective against AOE magic damage, whereas Anticipation seems useful only if you are being directly attacked, in which case you probably messed up and need to Wind Shear asap.
Maelstrom Weapon is a very useful talent to use to save yourself, although at 5 stacks it is most useful. Instead of casting Lightning Bolt, if I am low on health and no heals are inc, I will cast Healing Wave on myself, or if some melee are low, I'll cast Chain Heal on myself which will splash onto the tank and other melee. If I need to survive an incoming high damage phase, I will sometimes hold back using a MW5 and keep it for when I need healing, for example the whirlwind phase in Malygos. This is of course a DPS loss, but dead men do no DPS, right?
Don't forget that Shamanistic Rage has a damage reduction component, reducing all damage by 30% for 15 seconds. Very handy for XT-002 Tantrums, or if you get attacked by a stray mob, or you need to tank Mimiron's body for 5 secs because all the tanks have died (asif). Basically this is an "oh-shit" button similar to what the tank classes have, although you may still die, you can try to cheat death using SR.
Feral Spirit is the 51 point enhancement talent. These guys have Twin Howl and Bash, both of which will let you get away while the wolves tank, plus they do a reasonable amount of healing which may help keep you up if something is attacking you, or AOE damage is really hurting.
Not much to say here, I don't bother gemming for Stamina (lol) but I do take all-mail items. With Mental Dexterity mail items are as good as leather now, plus they usually have more armour, for extra damage absorption.
Macros and Action Bars
Firstly I always have a health potion or healthstone keybound to F12, so I can hit it really quickly when needed. I actually bound the last slot in the bottom right actionbar to F12 using the game menu, then I drop a health potion or healthstone in there.
I have Lesser Healing Wave and Healing Wave in my primary action bar, on keys 7 and 8. HW is needed quickly so I can MW5 Healing Wave for an instant cast heal. LHW is something I will use if I need a heal and Maelstrom Weapon is no where near 5 stacks - LHW is a quick heal I will cast in combat to prevent death. If I get focussed or in some puddle of something, I will back off from the fight, LHW and then get back in there again.
Finally I have Chain Heal on a secondary action bar to click, for MW5 CH action when party members also need heals.
A lot of damage can be avoided through proper positioning. Cleaves and bad stuff like that usually happen at the front of a mob. 4tehfite has posted a handy DPS positioning chart - follow this and you will avoid tail swipes and all sorts of nastyness.
One other tip, if I hear a whirlwind sound or see a whirlwind animation, I will back off from melee range, as some mob is usually whirlwinding and will knock my health down pretty fast. Then I will either LHW myself or a kind healer will drop a heal on me and I can get back in there.
Running the right totems help a great deal, yourself and the whole party/raid. On mobs which do poison or disease, I make sure a Cleansing Totem is up (ie in the whole of Azjol-Nerub) which helps the healer out and keeps poison/disease damage low. It also annoys the Black Knight a whole lot :) Don't run this on Rotface tho!
On mobs who like to fear, Tremor Totem is your friend because getting feared into another pack is really bad for your health, and healers don't heal well when they are running around like headless chickens (apart from Druids ofc).
Finally run Resistance Totems as appropriate on hard content. I used to run Nature Resistance on Loken for example, whereas now I don't bother. Still an extra 130 resistance will help.
This probably only applies for Faction Champions, but a PvP Trinket with fear break is very useful on those fights. I use the Titan-Forged Rune of Determination.
Keep your wits about you and don't forget your Anhks should all the above fail!
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