Peace Totem

Be at Peace

Be at Peace

This post is part of the Escaping the Crowds series, which focuses on escape mechanism for PvP.

Clash of arms. Bash of shields. Cacophony of spells.
The arena is not a pleasant place to be.

How about some peace?

A very wise man once said (Buddha at 560-483 B.C.) –

Better than a thousand hollow words is one word that brings peace.

But what if, instead of such a word, we’d use a totem?

A totem that marks a place for peace, and all must obey it. A totem to hold the arms, lower the shields and silence the harmful spells. One that will grant some peace of mind, even for a little time.

Today on Escaping the Crowds series, I will propose a new totem for the Shaman’s totem-box. One that will attempt to help him in situations where he isn’t as strong, escape-wise.

Coming up after this quick (link) hop is the new spell, and all its details.

We start with the tooltip, so here it is.

Peace Totem

Peace Totem

Peace Totem

(Instant cast, 5 min. cooldown) Summons a Peace Totem at the feet of the caster. The totem prevents anyone within 10 yards from performing any hostile action. Lasts 8 seconds. Attacks against the totem will reduce the remaining duration.

In English Please

Once the totem is dropped, everyone within 10 yards from it is basically pacified – he cannot attack in any way, cast any harmful spell (including debuffs) or attempt any action such as an interrupt, a slow etc.

In one simple word – there is peace around the totem. The only possible action is healing and buffing allies.

Of course, this is not entirely equal to a mass Paladin’s Divine Shield. The totem can still be destroyed, canceling the effect, but the destroyer of peace must come from outside, using a ranged ability probably.

Lastly, to make it clear, the peace effect affects both the Shaman’s enemies and allies.

Buffed Peace

I think we understand by now that Shamans are overall balanced in PvP escapism, although they lack a mean to keep their enemies busy (i.e. crowd control them). This isn’t exactly CC, but I think it does help the PvPing Shaman.

It does keep the enemy busy. Be it busy doing nothing, or busy trying to burn down the totem’s duration, he is not going to keep doing what he started, at least for a little while.

Combined with the Shaman’s existing abilities, this new totem is sure to increase their escape options. It can be used back to back with Grounding Totem to ensure a few moments of avoidance. It can be followed by a couple of heals, which are guaranteed not to be interrupted by melee attackers. It can be used with other totems, ensuring they are not as easily destroyed. Options are not lacking.

Score: 7/10

Hmpf…

Ok, you are right, I feel it too. It is a good concept, but it somewhat feels a bit lacking. It is not very hard to counter (contrary to Divine Shield for example), making it circumstantial.

Let me introduce the buff list, with possible options how to make this ability a little better. I haven’t incorporated this immediately into the tooltip, as the slightest change can cause this to become overpowered.

  • Reducing the cooldown. 2 or 3 minutes would make it much more useful.
  • Peace Totem now also removes all movement impairing, and effects which deny control over one’s character, from all allies affected by it.

I am not sure which one it would be though. I guess it’s time to share some thoughts (i.e. comments! comments! comments!).

Let’s move on.

Is There Such a Thing as Overpowered Peace?

Even at concepts such as peace, some people will find a reason to frown.

Assuming the Peace Totem’s unbuffed state, let us consider what exactly are its properties.

  1. It prevents all melee attacks against anyone inside the area (as long as they are not too far away from the totem).
  2. It prevents ranged classes from using their harmful spells if they are within the area. Nothing prevents them from moving outside though (see 4).
  3. It does not prevent healing and/or buffing.
  4. It does not prevent ranged classes outside the area of the totem from attacking members affected by it. Those ranged classes can also attack the totem itself.

Taking all of this into account, the strength of the Peace Totem is dependent on the team’s setup (number of melee/ranged classes) and its current positions (who is within the totem’s area, who is outside of it). This is why this totem could be extremely overpowered against a team of two Rogues, but gone unperceived by a team of two Mages.

Since PvP class balance is a game of rock-paper-scissors, I suppose this discrimination is accepted.

It would have been overpowered if there was no way to counter it, but even a group of Rogues with good team coordination and reflexes can quickly step away from the totem, attack it from ranged, and significantly reduce the immunity time.

Which leads me to a crucial point. Attacks against the totem will reduce the remaining duration – but by how much? I think a good rule of thumb would be 1 second for a normal attack, and 2 seconds for a critical hit. This will allow attackers to use their fastest attacks to nullify the totem’s effect, and yet not destroy it right away. If we’re going back to the Rogues example, if both quickly leave the Peaceful area, then quickly use a ranged attack, we can assume the totem will last 3-5 seconds instead of the full 8.

The last thing to consider is a group of Shamans chain-using this totem to receive enough immunity to heal through big amounts of damage on their entire group. At the moment, nothing prevents the second Shaman from using his totem. As this might be a bit overpowered, a mechanism such as Forbearance could be used. For example, enemies affected by the totem could be buffed with Warmongering, which makes them immune to any enemy Peace Totem for some duration.

Score: 7/10

Because it really depends what classes the Shaman is up against, and most setups can counter the effect rather quickly.

Peaceful PvE

Battlegrounds and Arenas are places of war. Peace is usually welcome where war is present. Following this logic, peace would be welcome in PvE as well.

There are roaming monsters. There are crawling dungeons. There are raids of countless heroes. In each there is bloodshed. In all peace is welcome.

So how could this totem affect Player vs. Environment?

Solo, it will work like Divine Shield, granting the Shaman a panic button to avoid near-death situations. It won’t be as good, since it has some restrictions, but let’s not be too greedy.

While instancing, this will probably serve as a reactive ability when pulling aggro from the tank (similarly to Ice Block). Whoever will charge for the Shaman will enter the peace zone, then be unable to attack him. Since enemy artificial intelligence sets them to attack the target with the highest aggro that is not immune, it will cause this enemy to probably go back to the tank.

This however is not an aggro-reducing ability. If the Shaman remains the first on the threat list once the totem expires, the enemy will return to attack him.

In addition, this has the advantage of protecting other members of the party/raid. For example, the Moonkin has pulled aggro? The Shaman can drop the Peace Totem to protect him (similarly to how Blessing of Protection is currently used).

There is however one possible exploit. On fights where the entire group is clustered (the Akil’zon fight comes to mind), the use of a Peace Totem will grant immunity to the entire raid, for enough time to heal everyone. That’s rather big.

As I see it, there is a solution, but it isn’t really elegant. Making bosses immune to the totem’s effect is not desirable as it makes the ability useless in raids. The not very elegant solution would be giving all bosses the power to shatter the totem, if they do not have any alternative. It might not make perfect sense, but bosses are suppose to be mean and angry. Peace is not an option.

Score: Pretty useful.

A War to Nerf Peace

I have specifically left the ability’s tooltip as it is, without the possible buffs, because I knew those buffs might later be nerfed back to the void. As it stands, I don’t think it should suffer from any nerfs, making the list for today rather empty.

Sure, some might say the duration or the range are too long, or maybe the cooldown is too short, but altering any of those will damage the ability’s usefulness, and that we do not want to do.

War vs. Peace. Round one. Peace wins.

Peace – Fact or Lore?

Does it makes any sense, lore-wise, for the Shaman to use such a totem?

Totems have great power and significance. They are shaped around different aspects of the wild, drawing upon the strength of the spirits. Is there no reason for spirits of balance and peace to come upon the aid of a Shaman?

I believe it fits rather well.

Score: Quite likely.

Everyone Just Loves Peace. It so Fun!

Are there any fun applications to this skill?

I suppose the totem could have a nice effect around it. Maybe soothing music, brilliant light and flying butterflies spawning all over the place.

Could be nice for parties.

Score: Pyrotechnics.

Peace Out

And that is all for today. I wish you all a peaceful day, especially the Shamans among you (*smile*).

No quote this time, I want to give Buddha some exclusivity.

Peace. Paedolos out.

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2 Responses to “Peace Totem”

  1. Xeothal Says:

    I think that the “remove movement impairing effects” is the good way to go, I can already imagine a shaman standing at the bottom of the WSG tunnel ready to drop the totem as his allies are coming down, chased by some pesky Hamstringing warriors.

    Love the concept of “Warmongering” I’d vote for that if not only cause the name is cool

    About the PvE issue you raised, giving the totem the ability to pacify the boss for 8 seconds, and all the members huggle around the totem, I think that’s the major issue to be elaborated. I can’t think of anything that makes sense (Boss using that time to heal himself as well ^^?) though

  2. paedolos Says:

    I thought that the “Blessing of Freedom” effect on the totem would be the more appealing one 🙂

    Regarding use in PvP, I suppose that it would follow the same rules of immunity regarding caping and carrying flags, so I’m not sure dropping one for the flag carrier would be such a good idea…

    Warmongering is indeed a cool name now that you mention it, thanks for the positive feedback.

    Lastly, bosses healing themselves during a totem drop would not make sense in many encounters (e.g. Moroes using bandages???), but it’s a fun idea to toy with.

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