Fear Ward Sucks, says Tremor Totem

The 2.3 patch brought about many sweeping changes for Priests. Fear Ward, a spell once exclusive to Dwarves and Dranei, is now available to all Priests at level 20. Before Burning Crusade, the Horde answer to Fear Ward was Tremor Totem. On raids like Onyxia, the two abilities were the few that helped make fear manageable.

(Definitions courtesy of WoWWiki.com)

Fear Ward

Fear Ward is a spell available to all priests at level 20. This spell renders the target immune to one fear effect. The buff lasts 3 minutes, has a 3 minute cooldown to recast, and is considered a magic effect. The buff is consumed even if the character is already immune to fear (i.e. warrior using Berserker Rage or Death Wish).

Tremor Totem

Summons a Tremor Totem with 5 health at the feet of the caster that shakes the ground around it, removing Fear, Charm and Sleep effects from party members within 30 yards. Lasts 2 min.


So the big benefit to Fear Ward is that it is now available to all Priests. The really big downside is that it has a three minute uptime and a three minute cool down. On engagements like Nightbane, Warriors are going to have to be more alert in their stance dancing. You can avoid the first fear easily and it gets nullified. If you have a second Priest, you can mitigate the second one. But subsequent fears will need to be danced.

Enter the Tremor Totem

What about the tremor totem? If a Shaman drops it down, it does not prevent fear effects (THAT would be overpowered). It pulses every few seconds and when the pulse hits, the fear effect is removed (along with silence, charm, etc). Tremor totems can be placed at any time and have a shelf life of only two minutes. When a Shaman drops the totem down, any fear effects that are already up are immediately removed effectively ‘cleansing’ the players. Bear in mind, totem affects only those currently in your party.

So going back to our Nightbane example, if you have a Shaman, I think this will alter some of the group makeups to include a Shaman. Tremor totem hasn’t become stronger. Fear ward just became weaker. It’s viability in PvE encounters has diminished. The only downside to tremor totem is that there may be some cases where players run out of range of it’s effect (can be lessened if you invest a point to extend totem range).

So bottom line? Advantage, Tremor Totem.

I won’t touch the PvP side of things. I’ll leave that to my buddy Pwyff to take care of.

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About Matticus

Matticus is the founder of World of Matticus and Plus Heal. Read more of his columns at WoW Insider. League of Legends player. Caffeine enthusiast.


  1. Ahh, but there’s a significant change you might have overlooked which takes the sting out of the changes somewhat:

    • Creature AI has been changed to no longer prioritize attacking unfeared targets over feared targets.

    This means that even if a warrior misses the stancedance, Nightbane isn’t going to turn around and smack someone anymore. And it means that we can keep using a Druid tank. ^_^

  2. Except if he fears everyone else and the druid tank dies as he is feared. 🙂

    Another thing is, it is common for people to run out of range before the tremor totem works. Luckily, however, very few bosses in SSC and TK use fear (I think Kael is the only fight that has a fear, don’t quote me on this).

  3. Yeah the shift has gone from keeping tanks unfeared to now keeping healers unfeared.

    I’ve only seen fear come from striders on Vashj. Other then that… yeah.

  4. So if you fearward the Shaman.. he can then instantanously drop the fear totem and save everyone..!

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