Friday, January 30, 2009


No, not the ones that a shaman drops every fight, although those have issues of their own. I'm talking about the ones you equip in your ranged weapon slot.

Frankly They Suck. In 3.0 Blizzard did do something pretty cool, and let them function as your Air, Earth, Fire, and Water Totems that we all quested for when leveling up. That freed up 4 bag slots. Unfortunately they still take up 4 bank slots. But that's besides the point. Rogues and Warriors get to equip guns, bows, and throwing weapons. While they are pretty much useless as a ranged damage dealing attack, they do provide very tangible stat benefits.

Lets take a look at a throwing weapon from Heroic Naxx.
Spinning Fate
16agi, 24sta, 32hit, 16crit, 62ap.
Using generic non hit capped EP numbers that weapon is worth 215.6 EP
Not too shabby.

However Shamans can't equip ranged weapons. So along with Druids, Paladins, and now Death Knights we use Relics. Thye are broken down by class into Totems, Idols, Librams, and Sigils.

Enhancement shamans have several Totems to choose from.
Totem of Splintering
Totem of Dueling
Deadly Gladiator's Totem of Indomitably
There is also the old TBC Standby
Stonebreaker's Totem
and finally
Totem of Hex deserves some consideration as well.

EJ has a pretty in depth breakdown of the merits of the various totems in the Theorycrafting Think Tank so I'm not going to get to into the mechanics of each option. Breaking it down in brief from EJ Indomitablity > Dueling > Splintering. The trouble with Indominatibity is that it is obtained through Arena play and requires a personal rating for 1930 (down from the original 2030) Many Enhancement shamans are unlikely to achieve that rating.(Myself included)

Anyways DGToI provided the best theoretical EP of 120. That's if Lava Lash is used right at every cooldown. In practice it gets used much less often. Theorycrafting has shown that LL is 4th in priority behind a 5Stack Lightning Bolt, Stormstrike, and Earthshock. Looking at the WWS report from my last Naxx 25 run. I have On Boss dps time of 26:33 and 67 lava lash hits. That works out to once every 24 second, or on average an EP value of 30.

Dueling drops off of Instructor Razuvius, and vary rarely off of Gluth as well. It finally dropped for us last week which I believe was our 9th clear. Wowhead reports a drop rate of 7% So statistically about 7 weeks gives you a 50/50 chance to have seen it. Not to bad. Dueling provides 60 haste when using SS which talented is every 8 seconds. So max uptime of the buff is 75%. Haste varies greatly in value depending on the rest of your gear and buffs. I've had it sim as high as 2.2EP and had it sim at negative values as well. So to be safe we will use the generic value of 1.3 Max genric value is 60*1.3*.75= 58.5 EP. In practice SS doesn't get used every 8 seconds on the nose either. Last week on Thaddius I achieved 37 Stormstrikes in 5:23 of dps time or once every 8.7 seconds or a 54 EP value on that fight.

Quickly to finish off. Splintering is purchased for 15 emblems of heroism. The extra ap on WF isnt worth all that much. In fact some people theorize that this is bugged and does not add any ap to the WF procs. Stonebreaker's is purchased for 15 lv 70 badges of heroism. It gives 110ap per proc. uptime is about 40% or 44EP value.

Doesn't an item that provides a constant 215 EP seem quit a bit better than our totems?

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