Monday, March 2, 2009

ESNN - Enhancement Shaman News Network

Unleashed Rage now adds 3/6/9 Expertise per talent point.

This is a huge and welcome change!  Considering that the change before was 1/2/3% agility, the expertise ends up being way better. Sort of like how N Sync was way better than Backstreet boys.  Not that I would know what they sounded like.... or care, um... yeah.

The thing is, the agility change was nice, but the Shaman community didn't think it was scaling very nicely at the moment.  While Shaman gear has tons of agility, it was only adding about 20-25 agility for the enhancement shaman in the best of the best gear.  While that's a pretty hefty number think about what getting all that expertise gets us and what it will allow Blizzard to do from now on.

Right now we need a 26 Expertise rating to get to our expertise cap.  We've covered the importance of Expertise rating here.

Now, getting to that cap requires us to seek out some really odd pieces of gear.  Even then, we'd be way far under the expertise cap. So then, we'd gem every single red slot or any other gem slot we could afford with expertise oftentimes forgoing gem socket bonuses that I love so much.  

So instead of gemming every single slot with +16 Expertise gems,  we get to fit those sockets with some of the more fun stuff.  Like +32 Attack Power, or maybe some crit with the +16 Crit gem,  or really whatever you think you're needing at the moment.  But if you go for spirit gems, I'll find you, give you a wet willy, a wedgie, and noogie so hard that your hair will never grow back in that spot.

9 expertise is quite a lot.  That's approximately 74 expertise rating (it depends on how much expertise you already have) which opens up more than four gem slots for other stuff.  I would sure love to have 132 extra attack power from four extra gem slots.  It sounds so delicious, I just drooled on my keyboard and think I need to wipe myself up. brb.

Ok, back.  The other thing this addresses is itemization in Ulduar.  While we share mail gear pieces with Hunters, there are very few pieces of mail gear with expertise because while we Enhancement shamans crave expertise, hunter can't do anything with them unless they want to melee which is really cute and silly and should be attempted pronto right after writing this post.  So since they want us to continue fighting for gear, they want to help us out in the Expertise department since they probably won't plan on making mail gear that is only useful to enhancement shaman and not for anyone else.

Anywho, nice change.  Looking forward to actually seeing some loot from Ulduar to see how it'll pan out.

teh Pif has a weeklong hangover....


This is the editor of this here blog.  Sometimes teh Pif likes to take over and I get to take a little vacation.  

Unfortunately, teh Pif seems to like celebrating his birthday over the course of an entire week rather than a day like everyone else.

Teh Pif also likes to drink way more than he can handle, get a whole crowd singing "End of the Road" by Boyz II Men at a karaoke bar, and in the same night, get his microphone turned off for telling members in the audience to do things normally not accepted in the public.  

Teh Pif also has a massive hangover and has decided to take a vacation which makes me in charge of this here blog till he gets back.

But now I'm here to tell you what he's planning in the next few posts.

  1. We were going to do a talent guide which would address everything: leveling, soloing, and party/group specs.  But things are changing with the patch so teh Pif will keep giving his thoughts on the latest changes as they make it to the PTR.
  2. A gear guide.  He first started the post with a rant about how he hates rogues, so I stopped him and told him to focus it a little better.  I think he gets it now and he'll come up with a comprehensive list for gearing up for Naxx and even a bit for gearing for heroics.
  3. Boss Strategy guides, from heroics to raids, what you need to know as an enhancement shaman.
So there's what to expect.  Please leave a comment if you'd like to see something addressed.  Thanks for being patient with teh Pif.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Extra Extra!

  • Bloodlust and Heroism now puts a debuff on you preventing you from using gaining the benefits of them for 10 mins. They now have a 5 min cooldown. (Previously had a 5 min debuff with a 10 min cooldown)
  • Improved Stormstrike (Tier 8 ) now has a 50/100% chance to grant you 20% of your base mana when you Stormstrike.
  • Stormstrike (Tier 7) now affects the next 4 nature attacks but only lasts 10 secs now. (Previously only affected 2 attacks and lasted 12 secs)
  • Unleashed Rage (Tier 6) is now a 3 point talent. It now passively increases your agility by 1/2/3% in addition to causing your critical hits with melee attacks to increase all party and raid members' attack power by 4/7/10% if within 45 yards of the Shaman. Lasts 10 sec.
  • Spirit Weapons (Tier 5) now reduces all threat, just not melee threat.
  • Toughness (Tier 4) now increases stamina by 2/4/6/8/10% instead of increasing armor value.
  • *New Talent* Frozen Power, Tier 6, 2 point talent - Increases the damage done by your Frostbrand Weapon if it is enchanted on your main-hand weapon by 10/20%, and your Frost Shock has a 50/100% chance to root the target in Ice for 5 sec. when used on targets at or further than 15 yards from you.

Ok, the PTR is up.  I think I'm allowed to talk about it now.  I wanted to wait till it was live because I would hardly think that all of these changes would get through or even if this was the complete list.  But I can't contain myself anymore.  Let teh Pif out!  Rawr!

  • Bloodlust and Heroism now puts a debuff on you preventing you from using gaining the benefits of them for 10 mins. They now have a 5 min cooldown. (Previously had a 5 min debuff with a 10 min cooldown)

This is somewhat of a nerf, not to yourself but to the raid.  Sometimes, in encounters that last longer than 5 minutes and you had multiple shaman, you would be able to pop HEROISM! twice in a fight.  Now, with the debuff lasting 10 minutes that won't be the case anymore.  I'm not sure why they then just don't make the debuff and the cooldown exactly the same if they just want us to use it every 10 minutes.  Perhaps, the debuff goes away when you die?  I'm not really sure to be honest.

  • Improved Stormstrike (Tier 8 ) now has a 50/100% chance to grant you 20% of your base mana when you Stormstrike.
  • Stormstrike (Tier 7) now affects the next 4 nature attacks but only lasts 10 secs now. (Previously only affected 2 attacks and lasted 12 secs)

Stormstrike?  Why are they messing with Stormstrike?  Well, we can't complain because it's a pretty nice buff.

Currently, Stormstrike by itself gives a debuff for 12 seconds, gives you 2 charges of a debuff for increased nature damage on the target, and it's cooldown is 10 seconds.  

Currently, Improved Stormstrike with 2/2 points increases the charges of the nature debuff by 2 and also  reduces the cooldown of Stormstrike 2 seconds, down to 8 seconds.

Currently, with 4 charges and a refresh every 8 seconds, you could keep the debuff up on the boss 100% of the time even if you missed one GCD before refreshing your Stormstrike.

On the PTR, Stormstrike by itself gives a debuff only for 10 seconds, gives you 4 charges now, and it's cooldown is still 10 seconds.

On the PTR, Improved Stormstrike returns mana when you hit 50%/100% with 1 or 2 points in the talent, respectively. 

On the PTR, you will still be able to keep those 4 charges on the boss, but following the attack priority list is more important than ever as missing it every ten seconds could result in a significant loss of dps over a long period of time.  

This change moves away from many things I wrote about the importance of Intellect.  Yes, intellect is important for the same reasons I've stated before.  But it's less important.  If you are returning 20% of your base mana on every single stormstrike, you'll be getting a 879 mana return every 10 seconds (Shaman base mana at 80 is 4396.  Multiply by .2 to get 879).  That's a lot of mana.  

In my case though, I don't have mana problems.  Especially in 25 mans.  I know replenishment may be reworked in 3.0.1 and mana may present itself to be a problem later, but when I first read the talent, I was considering skipping it altogether.  When you're wearing higher levels of gear with lots of Intellect, you won't run into a lot of mana problems especially with proper use of Shamanistic Rage.  So I'm leaning towards skipping Improved Stormstrike altogether, keeping a closer eye on that Stormstrike cooldown, and grumbling about the stormstrike nerf I just got.

  • Unleashed Rage (Tier 6) is now a 3 point talent. It now passively increases your agility by 1/2/3% in addition to causing your critical hits with melee attacks to increase all party and raid members' attack power by 4/7/10% if within 45 yards of the Shaman. Lasts 10 sec.

Now this is the major buff.  I'm happy the shaman community got this through.  I remember writing a post on the damage forums about how 10 points that Enhancement shaman were using for PVE builds, were spent solely to buff up the raid and had no personal benefit for the Shaman him/herself.  It erupted into heated discussions of class balance, qq, shaman hate, and someone even talking about pink vs. blue cotton candy.

But anyway, we spend 2 less talent points in Unleashed Rage now, get the same exact raid buff, and we get a 3% agility buff too.  I might have to revisit what I said about stacking AP over Agi and Int.  Agi is definitely now preferred over Int, but I'll have to calculate AP vs. Agi gems/enchants.

  • Spirit Weapons (Tier 5) now reduces all threat, just not melee threat.
This is a major major buff.  I shouldn't even call it a buff.  To me, it's a bug fix.  There are fights, Patchwerk immediately comes to mind and the first part of Thaddius too, where you do not in any way want to be anywhere close to the top in threat.  The problem before was that spells were not affected by this spell.  So my earth shocks and lightning bolts would rocket me in the threat meters, so I would spend seconds at a time, windshocking and sitting on MW5 waiting for the tanks to pick up threat so I could resume my priority list, at which point I'd have to stop and just lay out white damage again.  It was a major pain.  We'll have to see on the PTR just how much this really helps, but, as long as it's not bugged, even a little bit will help a lot.

  • Toughness (Tier 4) now increases stamina by 2/4/6/8/10% instead of increasing armor value.
  • *New Talent* Frozen Power, Tier 6, 2 point talent - Increases the damage done by your Frostbrand Weapon if it is enchanted on your main-hand weapon by 10/20%, and your Frost Shock has a 50/100% chance to root the target in Ice for 5 sec. when used on targets at or further than 15 yards from you.

PVP buffs.  Plain and simple.  The change to toughness is a really hefty bonus in stamina which helps for any melee class in PVP.  You're being expected to run in and smash things and many PVPers understand that an unchecked enhancement shaman will wreak havoc with massive burst.  

The second talent is interesting but also somewhat odd.  Don't get me wrong I can't wait for it to come live and try it out in some BG's.  Frost shock can now root the person ahead of you that's either running away or coming right at you from a distance.  This may allow you to then open up with hex or just outright burst the bugger down while setting up a totem or two.  It will be infinitely useful in PVP.  The thing that confuses me is they're expecting Frost shock to be on the mainhand.  Well, that's where windfury is supposed to be.  Windfury is a huge source of our burst damage which is so important for PVP.  I expect people will complain about this and it will get changed.  If not, and it goes live, I expect people to run with Frostbrand weapon, root, then switch to windfury, and so on and so forth, like a hunter changing his aspects.  I know the talent also increases Frostbrand damage, but it's still not as bursty as a double windfury proc.  

In PVE, we'll have to see how useful it is.  I know that I'm definitely going to ask my raid leader if I can kite the adds on Grobbulus with this talent, and we'll have to see what uses it will have in Ulduar.

So a buff to Unleashed Rage and Spirit Weapons.  A change to Stormstrike that I don't think was necessary and would like for it to change back to what it was.  Some PVP buffs, and no major nerfs.  Can't say it's a bad patch at all.

We'll take a look at the Glyph changes next.

NOTE:  Thanks to Phoenixboy to pointing out some glaring issues I had missed with Stormstrike.  I ain't too proud to admit when I done wrong.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Enhancement vs. Elemental: The Leveling Conundrum

So before even like the beginning of time and stuff, people sat around and debated the age-old question.  Socrates and Plato fought over it.  Leonardo Da Vinci made paintings about it.  Einstein theorized about it.  The question:  Should I level as Enhancement or Elemental?

The simple answer you’ll see out there is that there is no right answer.  Both have their pros and cons.  I, teh Pif, obviously have a bias and strong inclination towards one of the two specs.  I’ll let you guess which one. 

But that’s not the answer you want to hear is it?  Let’s look at it as objectively as possible.

Having leveled a few toons, I look at the following things when determining what is best for leveling:

Downtime – Downtime is bad.  If you can just keep moving and kill mob after mob without stopping, that’s good.  Stopping to drink, dying a lot, having to deal with cumbersome class mechanics, etc. all contribute to downtime.

Damage – Less important than downtime but still important is how quickly the mob will die.  A resto shaman will have very little downtime once they get water shield and if they choose to melee hit instead of cast to kill things.  The resto shaman will also spend 3 and a half hours killing the ten mobs needed to finish a quest. 

Movement – Azeroth is a huge place.  Before you get to Outlands and Northrend, you’re going to spend a big chunk of time going place to place from quest to quest and using your pitiful level 30 mount and flight paths.  Nothing can help the pitiful mount and flight path but there are other tools that help you get from one area in a zone to another to finish multiple quests.

Fun – This doesn’t really determine anything.  Well, that’s not entirely true.  I have noticed that among my toons if it’s not fun to level as a certain spec regardless of how efficient or inefficient it is, I won’t level it quickly.  I will always choose to do different things and the leveling process will be super slow.  Take my warrior for instance.  Fury is thought of to be THE leveling spec for many warriors.  I choose to go Prot.  Because it’s more fun.  I like it better.  So choose what’s fun.

Aside from these things there are other things that help you level: the professions you choose, the race/class specials you get, and even where you choose to quest.  There are a lot of factors to quick and efficient leveling.  That’s not within the scope of this guide or this blog as there are several resources dedicated to fast and efficient leveling.

Now let’s look at these characteristics of leveling from each spec.


Now many people will say enhancement totally wins here.  And it’s true.  But only to a certain extent.  You have to look at the talent tree, because those people who say enhancement has less downtime is looking at it from a high level where you already have the talents needed for efficient grinding.  Grinding and leveling are similar but they are not the same. 

Elemental Shaman will stand back at max range, cast, and things will usually die before they reach you or you’ll whack them once or twice until they die.  However, because of the poor elemental itemization at low levels (which means your mana pools are really really small), you’ll be drinking a heck of a lot.  Water shield helps but you don’t want things hitting you, now do you?  Because then you’ll be spending mana healing yourself, or bandaging, or eating.  All of that equals downtime.  You know what though? Your drinking downtime is inevitable because there is no way your water shield will keep up while you are casting all those spells.

Enhancement shaman will run in, use their melee attacks and then move on to the next using very little mana in the process.  But don’t be confused, you will have downtime too. Your mana pool is even smaller than the elemental shaman, AND you’re running in there taking more damage than the elemental shaman.  You’ll spend less mana fa sho on abilities and skills but it’s the same difference as using it on healing.  Once you get to level 40 though, with double windfury, things will die super uber fast as enhancement shaman have tremendous burst once we get Stormstrike and Dual Wield.  But before level 40, plan on running in fighting and having to throw on a lesser healing wave or two  or three before the next mob or pack of mobs.

The thing is, while enhancement shaman leveling gets better as your level gets higher, elemental shaman leveling only gets better as your mana pool increases.

The Winner

Very close but I give the slight edge to Enhancement.  Enhancement wins once you reach level 40 onwards. Elemental downtime is only dependent on how much mana you have.  And gear can only afford you so much as you level unless you spend time in the AH which is a total no-no while leveling.


Now, again the opinions of many I’ve heard in the past hands the damage to elemental.  I, again have to agree but only to a certain extent.  Elemental will make things explode pretty quickly, all the way throughout your leveling process, but once again, when enhancement reaches that magical level 40 mark, their burst damage is outright nasty.

As an Elemental Shaman, you’ve already got all your core abilities available to you at level 10 except for Chain Lightning which you don’t get until level 32.  Things will die before they hit you.  If they don’t whack them once or twice, and then you’ll have a heap of dead mob sitting in front of you.

The core Enhancement Shaman talents, however, don’t come into play until you get to 30 points in enhancement.  Stormstrike and Dual Wield.  You also don’t get the Windfury weapon imbue until level 30, another thing to keep in mind.  This means you don’t have any instant attacks except for your shocks until you get to level 40 at which point you’ll start to get plenty of instant attacks at a steady pace while leveling (lava lash and then maelstrom weapon). 

The Winner:

Gonna have to give it to elemental here.  Like I said, level 40 is the magic level for enhancement shamans, and elemental is pretty consistent with taking down mobs quickly.


Both classes and specs take the same flight paths and no tree has a talent that increases mount speed.  The one thing that needs to be talked about is Improved Ghost Wolf.

2/2 points in Improved Ghost Wolf takes the casting time of Ghost Wolf from 2 seconds to 0.  Win.

Now it’s story time:

One time there was this mob.  Then teh Pif came and killed it.  Then teh Pif became turned into a Ghost Wolf.  He ran to another mob.  Then he killed that one.  Teh Pif then turned into a Ghost Wolf again and went over to the other mob.  He was gonna kill the thing, but then the mob’s friends came.  Teh Pif turned dropped an Earthbind Totem, turned into a Ghost Wolf and ran away.

Elemental Shaman can’t do that.  They have to cast the thing for 2 seconds.  I’m telling ya, it just ain’t the same.  Yeah, yeah, they can put seven points into Enhancement and grab the friggin’ thing.  But that means seven levels more to get those higher up Elemental Talents. 

Level 80 Enhancement Shaman, even the really good ones, will forgo 2 points in dps increasing sexily beautiful talents, to keep those two points in Improved Ghost Wolf.  With the changes in 3.1 and the freedom of 3 extra talent points from Unleashed Rage, I’m thinking about doing it too.

The Winner:

The guy who wrote that story!  That was the best story I’ve heard in a long time!


They’re both really fun.  Honestly.  And way different.

If you’ve played a caster before (which I didn’t), Elemental will feel like second nature just with different spells and totems.  You’ll enjoy bigger crits than you’ll see in Enhancement.  Lightning Overload and Thunderstorm are seriously awesome leveling talents when you get that high up in the tree.  And let’s face it.  You are shoving lightning bolts into the noses of ugly monsters.

Enhancement is also way fun.  You’ll go in and whack the mobby mobbersons for some decent damage.  The real fun comes when you get your arsenal of stormstrike, lava lash, and maelstrom weapon going.  That’s when you really start to feel the hybridness of Enhancement.

The Winner:

A tie.  I mean, it’s totally up to you how you want to play.  Some people like leveling as Resto for jeebus sakes!

The Score:

Downtime: Enhancement

Damage: Elemental

Movement: The guy who wrote the story

Fun: Tie

So we have a tie breaker here!  For me, in all honesty.  I could’ve been an elemental shaman at 80.  It really was between Thunderstorm and Feral Spirit.  And I have to tell you, Mugsy and Molly are soooo cute.  I could never ever let them go.

So that’s it folks.  Mugsy and Molly makes the last minute three-pointer to win it for Enhancement Shamans.  Hurray!

Disclaimer:  What spec you choose to level with, how you level and where you quest is not anywhere half as important as having fun while you’re doing it.  Do what is fun for you.  If you got a lot of gold, do what I did.  Level as both.  :)



We've talked about a lot of things now. We had an overview of what our class is like, our playstyle, our buffs, and even our attack priority list.

It's time to go out and get phat lewtz!

Er, actually no, not yet.  

We've got one thing to talk about before we can talk about our lootz.

Our stats.

YARGH!  STATS!? booooooooooooooooooooriiiiiiiiiiinnnnnngggg!

Yeah, yeah I know.  But we gots to know what we want before we go on getting what we want? right? right!

So first things first, let's look at our main attributes.  I'm talking about Strength, Agility, Intellect, Spirit, and Stamina.

Now let's get this out of the way.  Spirit?  fuhget about it.  Don't look for it, don't wear it, don't gem for it, don't even think about it.  Resto? Elemental?  Same deal, FORGET ABOUT SPIRIT.

Moving on.

Strength:  This used to be the end-all be-all attribute for enhancement shamans.  This is no longer true.  Strength does give you 1 Attack Power and some other things that are totally totally useless as an enhancement shaman.  I'm getting ahead of myself here, but there isn't too much mail or even leather gear with strength on it anyway and there sure ain't no cloth with strength on it.  The only strength then that you could get are from enchants, consumables, gems, or weapons/trinkets/rings/necklaces.  Just don't even bother.  Why? Well, let's look at our other attributes.

Agility:  Now, here's the real sexiness.  Agility in WotLK will now grant 1 attack power and a bit of crit as well.  There's also tons of agility on our mail gear.  It's not necessarily totally awesome to stack agility through gems and enchants, but it's passable.  

Intellect:  Some more sexiness.  Intellect, with 3/3 in Mental Dexterity, will grant 1 attack power, a bit of spell crit, and some mana to boot!  The importance of intellect comes into play when choosing between leather and mail.  The leather piece may totally be superior in many stats but the fact that there isn't any intellect on it makes it vastly weaker.  No mana = no spells or attacks.  You neeeeeeedz mana (on top of the attack power and spell crit).   I can tell you that there are many blue pieces of mail that are way way better than epic leather rogue gear.  Leave that stuffz alone.  I heard rogue leather causes cancer too.  Another reason to stay away from it.

Stamina:  Stamina isn't something we really want to gear for or worry about as an enhancement shaman.  If you're a pvper than that's a different post, but stamina will do nothing to add to your dps.  Many will argue (myself included) that you need to stay alive to dps and stamina is important in that sense, but if you're a dpser the only damage you should be taking is AOE or incidental boss damage.  If you're taking lots of damage, either you're doing something wrong or your raid is doing something wrong.  Regardless, you'll get more than enough stamina from your gear alone.   Enchanting and gemming for it is a loss of dps when you think about it because in place of those enchants and gems, you could be stacking other more useful stats.

It's important to remind y'all that since Strength, Intellect, and Agility all add to our attack power, that you really really want to get all those buffs going.  Blessing of Kings, Strength of Earth totem, Arcane Brilliance, etc.  You want everything.

I tend to prioritize the other stats in tiers.  

Tier 1:  Hit and Expertise

These two stats are your first priority.  You must be at or near the Hit and Expertise cap before you move on to other stats.  Other stats are inferior until you reach that cap.  Reach that cap.  Do it.  Ok?  


Think of hit in this way: if you can't hit the fricking thing, then you aren't damaging it.  I understand that you're hitting the thing and just missing occasionally, but people much smarter than you and I have done the math and their math tells us that those occasional misses are the single biggest loss of dps we have in fights.  So it's simple, make sure you have enough hit rating to get the job done.

To further complicate things, there are different hit caps we need to reach.  Having 9% hit will ensure we never miss with a yellow damage melee attack.  That means windfury, stormstrike, and lava lash.  But wait, what about earth shock and MW5LB's?  Well, we have a spell hit cap to reach for those.  And the spell hit cap is 17%.  

SEVENTEEN PERCENT!  That's a lot ain't it?  Yeah, go talk to casters how much they love that big number.  But remember we are hybridy.  We're a pseudo caster too, just in melee range.  

Anyway, the magic number for hit: 446

That seems like a really big number to reach, right?  It is.  Thankfully you've got some help.  If in your raid, you have a boomkin druid with Improved faerie fire or a shadow priest with Misery, that'll increase your chance to hit by 3%.  Oh, are you a sexy draenei?  That'll give you another one percent.

Which means we all have several magic numbers

17% - 446 (No buffs and you're a cute silly hordie)
16% - 420 (No buffs and you're a sexy draenei)
14% - 367 (Buffs and you're a ticklish little orc or troll or tauren)
13% - 341 (Buffs and you're a sexy statuesque draenei)


Expertise is way way more confusing than hit.  This is what you need to know.  Expertise lowers the boss' chance to dodge or parry.  No mob can parry from the back.  Which is where you want to be.  Like Mobb Deep says: Hit it from the back.

So why worry about Expertise?  Because of the dodge.  Hit will lower your chance to miss.  Expertise will lower the boss' chance to dodge.  That's what you need to worry about.  As it stands, with no expertise at all, a raid boss has a 6.5% chance to dodge your attacks from behind.

Now, expertise is really silly in that it only works in chunk.  There is such thing as 2.25% expertise, but no such thing as 2.29% or 2.33%.  It only works in incrememnts of .25%

To the left is a table (taken from the elitist jerks forums) that gives you those magic numbers.  The rating is how much expertise you get from your gear.  The points are what you see on your character sheet telling you how many expertise points you have.  The percentages refer to the reduced chance to dodge by the boss (also seen on your character sheet when you hover over that number).

Tier 2:  Attack Power

Attack Power

Attack power is in a tier all on its own.  That's because once you've reached the hit and expertise cap, you want to gem, enchant, take consumables, dream about, sacrifice a virgin goat for, and find coupons for attack power.  You wants it.  You wants it a lot.  

The obvious reason is because of Unleashed Rage granting us 10% of our attack power bonus when it's up.  If you have anywhere near 30% crit, which you should be pretty darn close to just through talents and basic gear, it'll be up 95-99% of the time.  

The less obvious reason why attack power is so appealing is because of Mental Quickness.  The more AP you have the more spell power you have.  The more spell power you have the more damage your earth shocks and MW5 LB's do.  Which means the more AP you have, the more babes flock over to you asking when they can get a date with you.  In which case you reply, "Get in line, babe."

The even lesser obvious reason why attack power is so appealing gets really heavy into theorycrafting, but I'll state it here.  Point for point, AP is lesser than Agi and Int.  But that being said, compare these three gems:  

Bright Scarlet Ruby: Grants 32 AP

Delicate Scarlet Ruby: Grants 16 Agility - 16 AP, .19% crit

Brilliant Autumn's Glow: Grants 16 Intellect - 16 AP, .09% crit, 240 mana, and small bit of MP5

What would you rather have, 16 AP or .19% crit?  How about 16 AP or .09% crit, 240 mana, and a tiny bit of MP5?  In that second choice, you could make a case for it, but with all the replenishment buffs going around and Shamanistic Rage, I've never had mana be a problem, even in ten-man or five-man groups.  

The thing is, the way things are itemized, especially in terms of gems and enchants, you'll usually get double the AP from the Agi and Int gems and enchants point for point.  So in terms of gems and enchants, I will always choose the straight AP gems over those other two stats.  

But if I have the choice between 10AP and 10Int or 10Agi, the choice is easy, choose either of those two attributes.  

Tier 3: Haste, Armor Penetration, Crit, Spell Power


Haste will do a lot for you.  Heavy theorycrafters will say haste is dangerous because of an internal windfury cooldown and plateauing at 1.5% speed and blah blibidy bleeping blah.  That's when theorycrafters go too far spending hours documenting and talking about things that are so moot.  The fact is, with all the procs from flurry, other buffs, boss buffs/debuffs, HEROISM!, windfury totems, and just so much more, your weapon speeds will change like five hundred bazillion times in a raid.  You can try and predict what your speeds will be to a point, but the cost/benefit of going through those calculations are sooooo not worth it.  Trust me, I tried.  

Let's simplify it, shall we?  Haste will benefit two things for you.  More MW procs, and more white damage from your melee auto attacks.  There.  That's all there is to know without bogging it down.

That being said, you don't want to gem, enchant, take consumables for it or even seek it out on gear.  If you have to choose between haste and crit, I tend to choose crit because of all my on crit procs, but there is certainly a threshold of crit where haste would actually benefit more.  I'd say if you're getting over 45% crit fully raid buffed, it's safe to say you have more than enough crit.


Ah, crit is so fun.  It's fun to watch those big numbers fly on the screen.  Crit will also proc flurry, unleashed rage, and elemental focus.  Among those things, the most important thing by far is Unleashed Rage.  If you don't have a blood specced DK or MM hunter, then you are responsible for one of the best, if not the very best, physical dps buff in the game.  It's your responsibility to keep it flowing.  How do you do that?  With Crit

I mentioned before, with about 30% crit you should maintain about a 95-99% uptime for Unleashed Rage.

Don't gem or enchant for it or consume foods for it unless you are under that 30% crit mark.  

Armor Penetration

I don't want to talk about armor penetration.  Go read blogs, read wowwiki, read wowhead forums or elitist jerks if you REALLY want to know about it.

I'll sum it all up for you.  Armor Penetration is really really bad.  It stinks.  Don't gem/enchant/consume for it.  It is a totally helpless stat and should not be sought after.  If you have to choose between other stats and this one, always choose other stats.  

Spell Power

I have to mention Spell Power since it is a big part of our damage.  Because of the wway we do damage in WotLK you'll see lots of forum threads about caster offhands, trinkets, or other pieces of caster gear being best in slot for us or otherwise.  Some of it is true. In a very general sense though, spell power is valued much higher when you've reached very high levels of gear and you are running with a fast caster mainhand weapon with the double flametongue imbues on both weapons.  There really is only one weapon worth talking about putting in that Mainhand slot and it's the one I just linked.  Spell power trinkets may prove to be pretty powerful for you.  All I can say is the only way to really know what's better for you is to grab it, wear it, get to a test dummy and see which one is better.  It's a confusing time for enhancement shaman and here's to hoping that the spell power/caster gear on enhancement shaman problem is addressed in 3.0.1

So there we go!  Stats for the enhancement shaman!  Next, we'll take a look at gear for the freshly babyfaced level 80 shaman!

Blog Review: More dots! More dots!

Everyone's got an alt.  Right?  Well, you should, even if it's just for the bank alt which is highly recommended by all the biggest gold makers out there.  

Some people don't just have alts, their whole WoW experience is defined and enriched by the ability to have alts.  Here's one blogger who's not only got some alts, she's got like tons and tons of em!  

Her articles are detailed well-thought totally good reads.  What I like most is that as she gears up her alts and plays with them, she reports about them, giving us insight into what it's like to play the class.  I can totally dig that.

And I totally used her resto guide to try out resto :)

And most importantly for teh Pif, she's a babe.  And babes are what enhancement shamanism is all about. /flirt

Attack Priority List: A To Do List

A priority list means that you will always choose to attack with whatever is highest on the priority list as long as the cooldown is up.  If you have the choice between two or more spells, refer to the list and choose whatever is higher up on the list.

So what is this list?

The Attack Priority List

  • MW5 LB
  • Stormstrike
  • Earth Shock
  • Lava Lash
  • Totem Refresh
  • Shield Refresh

We talked ad nauseam about MW5 LB’s here and how Maelstrom Weapon works.  You noticed how MW5 LB’s are the highest on the priority list?  The reason is because we need to keep those Maelstrom Weapon stacks going smoothly and consistently.  Let’s say you have five stacks and DON’T let that MW5 LB loose.  You stormstrike, then earth shock, then lava lash following the list.  During that whole rotation you could have had ANOTHER 5 Maelstrom weapon stacks allowing you to let loose yet another Lightning bolt.  But you didn’t.  Because you still have 5 stacks that you haven’t let loose yet.  Always always always always let loose the lightning bolt when you have 5 stacks.

The Stormstrike seems somewhat obvious.  With the Stormstrike glyph it’ll beef up several of your attacks: Static Shock, Earth Shock and MW5 LB’s. You need that debuff to be on the boss.  The stormstrike debuff increases all nature damage that you put out so it needs to be up 100% of the time and it’s possible to keep that debuff on the boss 100% of the time.    You can do it, so do it.

Earth Shock is our highest damage shock.  I know that it used to be that flame shock with its initial damage and full dot duration was the highest damage, but with our Stormstrike glyph and the debuff being for the enhancement shaman only, Earth Shock totally blows flame shock out of the water.  The only time I use flame shock is in PVP when I’m trying to keep a stealthed person unstealthed.  Sometimes I’ll use it to proc Lava Burst on mobs where Melee Pif would die and Caster Pif has to come to the rescue.  Moral of the story?  Use Earth Shock, and love it.

I don’t know how to put this, Lava lash stinks.  It is so annoyingly bad and it’s only on the list because it’s just another instant attack we can fit into the rotation.  Lava Lash does about 3-4% of my total damage on boss fights.  Lava lash does do more damage with flametongue imbued on your OH weapon and I always run with the Flametongue weapon imbue.  Lava lash will do better damage with a slower OH because it’s based on your weapon’s damage (not it’s dps), but like I said, lava lash is such a bad attack that you don’t want to waste itemization options on your lava lash.  Focus on your other attacks.

This attack is exactly the reason why we have an attack priority list (other than MW5 LB’s being completely random in timing).  Let’s say two minutes into a boss fight and you’re about to lava lash but notice your earth shock cd is available.  You earth shock because it’s higher on the list.  Then MW5 LB is ready so you let that loose.  By that time you’re stormstrike is up so you stormstrike,  THEN you lava lash.  All those things were higher on the attack priority list so they went before lava lash.

After that notice I put down totem and lightning shield refreshes.  To be honest, totem refreshes should be first.  A loss of your totems in the fight is a major loss of dps not only to other classes but to yourself as well.  Now I put it there on the list because if you are watching your cooldowns you can keep up your totems without interrupting your attack priority list.  Stormstrike is an 8 second cd, Earth shock is a 6 second cd, Lava lash is also a 6 second cd. After going through those three attacks you may have one or two GCD’s (global cooldowns = 1.5 seconds for us shaman) free while your just auto attacking.  Use them.  Use them to refresh your totems and lightning shield.  Just make sure you aren’t interrupting your attacks. 

And that, my sexy enhancement shaman brothers and sisters, is our attack priority list.