Thursday, January 21, 2010


Enhancement is my gig. Its what I enjoy about playing a Shaman. However, as I've complained about in previous posts the badge grind is how shall I put it?... A GRIND! I've never been one to pug, however with the new LFG tool, pugging has become if not enjoyable, at least convenient. Well aside from the tedious queue times at least. Baelor isn't a gatherer so I can't mine or herb while waiting. Fishing is a possibility I suppose, but the point is I don't want to wait 30 minutes to run a stupid pug. So I have been queueing as a healer. I know, I know... Baelor you say, you aren't a healer, you have no experience as resto. False! I healed BT on a fun run once time. I also healed Gundrak, or Drak Tharon.. I get confused. I healed the one with the T-Rex boss. So there!

Anyways. I've picked up a lot of resto gear over time, I've spent the gold to enchant it and gem it.. what the hell I might as well use it, and since queue times for healers are more like 20 seconds as opposed to 20 minutes... well I've actually been using my off-spec. Besides, unless I get one of the ICC instances, I can heal most of them using healing stream and earthshield. Toss in a riptide, and unless dps is standing in shit its a breeze.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Black Bruise

I picked up Black Bruise last night, so its finally time to retire Golden Saronite Dragon We killed a lot of mobs togehter GSD. I cant bring myself to DE it, so its sitting in my bank for the moment.

As you can see the stats on Black Bruise are fairly lacking, 69 Stam and 93 ap. Its the proc that has to make this weapon valuable. Early speculation of the proc chance had it around 1% which made it fairly worthless. Testing since has shown the proc chance to be around 3.3%. Enhsim modeling shows it to be worth about 205 dps or a 2.21% boost. My parses on Rotface showed it doing about 126 dps, but of course there is a considerable about of time running around and not attacking on that fight. All in all it turns out that this is a pretty nice weapon, and the heroic version is going to be our Best in Slot choice.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Tier Sets and the Evolution of Set Bonuses

Boy Shaman sets have come a long way haven't they. I didn't start playing until TBC, but back then our gear was itemized horribly. Now, I'm not a fan of how they are currently doling out the tier gear these days but they have figured out what we want for itemization, more or less. ( I'd like a bit of expertise on T10 please! )

Lets take a look at the evolution of Shaman tier gear.

Tier 1 or Earthfury, was an 8 pc set, and while it looks like it might have been ok for Resto, it would have been worthless for Enhancement. The set bonuses beyond the 3 pc are purely resto as well. It is a fairly nice looking set however, and Blizzard based the T9 models off of it.

Tier 2 or The Ten Storms, had the same itemization, and also Resto set bonuses. In fact the 3 set bonus was used up through TBC, before it got nerfed. Many people loved the look of this set, Myself, Its not my favorite.

Tier 3 or The Earthshatter set came from the original Naxx, and is my favorite looking of the vanilla sets. It was a 9 pc set and at least it did away with the spirit and resistances, but was still worthless to an Enhancement Shaman.

When The Burning Crusade hit, Blizzard realized that different specs required different stats on their gear, and so actually divided the Shaman tier gear into three separate sets.

Tier 4 was the Cyclone Harness. It was designed for Enhancement Shamans, but still the itemization for it sucked. Int and Mp5 were nearly worthless to us back then, and any equivalent ilevel piece in leather was almost assuredly much better. Back then we still derived 2 ap from Str, but almost no mail had Str on it, so we defaulted to Rogue gear with its agi, ap, crit, and hit, rather than mail with its useless int and mp5. Set bonuses were finally of some use to us as well.
■2 pieces: Your Strength of Earth Totem ability grants an additional 12 strength.
■4 pieces: Your Stormstrike ability does an additional 30 damage per weapon.

Tier 5 was the Cataclysm set, and the first set I actually wore a piece of gear from. The Helm off of out first Vashj kill. T5 dumped almost all of the Mp5, but it still had a lot of Int, so it lagged behind equivalent leather off-set pieces.

The set bonus were a bit hit and miss as well.
■2 pieces: Your melee attacks have a chance to reduce the cast time of your next Lesser Healing Wave by 1.5 sec.
■4 pieces: You gain 5% additional haste from your Flurry ability.

The 2 piece still emphasizing the old hybrid model, although an instant LHW could be useful on occasion. The 4 pcs however was pretty nice, and it actually scaled unlike the T4 bonuses.

Tier 6 or the Skyshatter set is my favorite tier set. I think this looks awesome. As a matter of fact Its so awesome I still have it in my bank. This was a 5 piece set like T4 and T5, but Sunwell added belts, boots, and bracers, as well making it an 8 pc set, and becoming the first time I actually used more than a single piece, and got a set bonus. The Sunwell pieces were best in slot, and really the first tier pieces well Itemized for Enhancement. Still the set as a whole had way to much Mp5 and the Int did not become useful until 3.0 hit.

The set bones were fairly lackluster as well
■2 pieces: Your Earth Shock, Flame Shock, and Frost Shock abilities cost 10% less mana.
■4 pieces: Whenever you use Stormstrike, you gain 70 attack power for 12 sec.
Mana was not a concern and while 70 ap is nice it doesn't scale at all.

So 3.0 redid the mechanics of Enhancement Shaman completely. The introduction of Mental Dexterity finally made all that mail gear loaded with int desirable. Str went from our best stat to one of our worst. Maelstrom Weapon and Lava Lash gave us something to do besides Stormstriking every 8 seconds and Shocking every 6 ( well and re dropping totems as they only lasted 2 minutes and needed to be dropped one at a time...up hill... both ways. ) So with Mail desirable what did that mean for the Tier sets?

Wrath dived the Tier sets even further. Tier 7 and Tier 8 had a 10 man and a 25 man version. they were differentiated often as TX and TX.5 or more properly as TX.10 or TX.25. Tier 9 and Tier 10 went even further breaking into 3 different ilevel sets, and requiring emblems to purchase. For this post we will look at the highest set within each Tier.

Tier 7 was modeled after the T3 sets, and I think its the best looking set of Wrath. Itemization was good, most pieces are best in slot or near enough to it.
Set Bonuses is where the Tier pieces really shine for Enhancement Shamans in Wrath
■2 pieces: Your Lightning Shield damage is increased by 10%.
■4 pieces: Your Flurry effect provides an additional 5% melee haste.
The 2 piece wasn't a huge dps increase but it, was still pretty good, and the 4 pc while the same as the T5 bonus was worth so much more due to scaling.

Tier 8 is loosely based on T5 models. Its OK looking imo but not as cool as T7 and nowhere close to T6. Similar to T7 though the itemization is great, all the pieces were BiS aside from the shoulders which were a bit behind the trash shoulders.
■2 pieces: Increases the damage done by Lava Lash and Stormstrike by 20%.
■4 pieces: Increases the frequency of Maelstrom Weapon being triggered by your melee weapon attacks by 20%.
The bonuses were outstanding. A 20% bonus to our 2 instant melee specials was a very nice DPS boost and 20% more Lightning Bolts/ Chain Lightnings is a couple hundred dps increases. Both scale very well too.

Tier 9 there are actually 18 different shaman sets. 3 ilevels for each of the 3 specs and then horde/alliance versions of each of those. The horde set was modeled loosely on the T1 set, but IMO is much uglier. I hate this set in fact. I miss my Kilts! The legs is called a WAR KILT even!
The set bonuses however are fan frickin' tastic.
■2 pieces: Adds an additional 3% chance to trigger your Static Shock talent.
■4 pieces: Increases the damage done by your Earth Shock, Flame Shock, and Frost Shock spells by 25%.

Tier 10 Is once again BiS or close to it. Its quite a different look, and after a bit of getting used to it. I've decided its pretty cool, at least in the blue skin. Off set pieces with a different skin/color look terrible though. The best part is the shoulders with the random Shoveltusk graphic.
The Set Bonuses are stronger than ever.
■2 pieces: When you activate your Shamanistic Rage ability you also deal 12% additional damage for 15 sec.
■4 pieces: Each time the beneficial effect of your Maelstrom Weapon talent reaches 5 charges, you have a 15% chance to gain 20% attack power for 10 sec.
Both of these skill incredibly well.

So as you can see, Tier sets have gone from being useless for us, to being pretty much compulsory for a progression raider. Not only are they Itemized to be Best in Slot in most cases, the set bonuses on them are worth hundreds of dps, and make using off set pieces pretty much pointless. I'm not going to break up my T9 set to gain a few EP on a piece of 264 ilevel gear. Not that I want to go back to the days of the tier gear being worthless, but sometimes I'd like a few more options, especially with the need to farm so many badges to even get the pieces.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Wing 2

so the second wing of ICC opened this week. FnB headed in there last night and my initial impression is that is pretty cool. Fun bosses, Fun trash, Fun Voices. It also requires a lot of individual responsiblity on the boss fights. That tends to be trouble for us. We managed to get Festergut down in two tries. The first time we wiped was because two melee got the debuff, and neither wanted to run out. Rotface was trouble for us. People couldn't seem to handle kiting the small oozes into the big ooze. Hopefully it will go better tonight.

Since its been a month since my last post, I'll give a few thought on how ICC has gone so far. I like the fights. Gunship is a blast. Saurfang is great, I mean I like a stand there and DPS my ass off fight once in awhile. I think they nerfed Lady Deathwhisper too soon, but that is a very interesting fight as well.

My problem with ICC is the Tier gear. The pieces themselves are great. The set bonuses are great. But they arent drops. I HATE that you have to farm emblems for them. 405 of them for the full set. Not to mention that most Enhancement Shaman are going to want the Trinket and the Totem. The Cloak and The Belt are very desireable as well. I raid 25 mans 4 nights a week. I don't really have the time or the inclination to do the same raid in a 10 man as well. Much less to run 5 mans for emblems everyday. I understand that Blizzard wants to help out casual players. But I disgree with them doing it by effectively forcing more serious raiders to farm useless content for badges.