Archive for the ‘armor sets’ Category

What’s the first thing you’d do after a five-month hiatus?

I headed out for a test drive. After picking up the Black Bruise and Keleseth’s Seducer in April, a new job and new time constraints meant I had no more time for raiding, and I decided to take a break.

When I logged in last night and checked the character pane, I saw the icons and remembered: Hey, I’ve got a pair of bad-ass fist weapons here!

Some old-school friends were starting up a late 10-man ICC run, and we ran a quick six-boss gauntlet. Here are the numbers:

Gear Score: 5784

DPS: 9772.3

Buffs: Improved Might, Kings, MotW (scroll), Fish Feast, Intellect, no flask.

For half the raid, it was an alt run, so the context may be a bit skewed. The 9777 DPS was good for second on the meter, behind a very solid Elemental Shaman friend who has a heroic weapon and the four-piece set bonus.

Which I still don’t have. But, hey, Cataclysm might be here in less than two months, so what’s the worry?

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Last night I picked up the Frost Giant’s Cleaver from the Gunship Battle in 10-man Icecrown.

The raid was significant for a couple reasons, most especially because it was my guild’s first real progression night in many weeks, since we had cleared the first wing of Icecrown Citadel and it was our first foray into the upper reaches of Icecrown.

Our raid had been delayed for the better part of an hour, so after three attempts at Festergut — 86%, 48% and ~ 30% — we called it for the night, with plans to go back sometime during the weekend. Festergut, like Deathbringer Saurfang, is an easy fight for melee DPS, requiring almost no movement. With its short enrage timer and stand-still mechanics, from a melee perspective it’s similar to the Patchwerk fight and can serve as a good benchmark for actual DPS numbers. I plan to revisit the fight in an upcoming post, with more detail from a melee DPS perspective.

Although it’s near-impossible to look at Trade Chat on my server without seeing at least one rep farming group forming, the only Ashen Verdict rep I’ve gotten has been from actual runs, ie. going in to kill bosses. As such, I ended the night a few hundred rep shy of upgrading my ring, but all-in-all a good night.

But, yeah, the weapon: I’ve historically had terrible luck getting weapons to drop — Kel’thuzad never did drop Calamity’s Grasp for me, Anub never dropped his sweet iLevel 245 weapons, and Ulduar’s hard-mode encounters didn’t yield any weapons for me until the Masticator dropped — AFTER I had already gotten the iLevel 232 versions of Anub’s weapons. In fact, my bad luck stretches all the way back to TBC, when Najentus refused to drop the much-coveted Rising Tide.

Frost Giant's Cleaver

Frost Giant's Cleaver - Image courtesy MMO Champion

So going from an iLevel 232 mainhand weapon — the Frostblade Hatchet — to the iLevel 251 Frost Giant’s Cleaver might not be the biggest leap, but for me it’s a major DPS upgrade, with noticeable gains once I’d gotten it enchanted — mid-raid — with Berserking. That makes me a very happy Shaman.

Coming soon, we’ll have some more detailed posts on Icecrown’s second wing, and the encounters from a melee perspective. In the meantime, check out some other Stormstrike goodness:

Related posts from Stormstrike:

Patch 3.3: Enhancement Shaman Talent Specs, Now With More Fire Nova

Lord Marrowgar down! The fight, from a melee perspective

The Frozen Halls: Enhancement Shaman Gear

More than just Gear(Score): An interview with Gear Score’s developer

(Note: This post deals with talent points. For a detailed post on Patch 3.3 rotations for Enhancement, go here.)

Patch 3.3 saw one major change for Enhancement Shamans — the reworking of Fire Nova Totem into an AoE spell.

The new Fire Nova requires an active Fire Totem to cast, and it has a 10-second cooldown, which can be reduced to six seconds with talents, and three seconds with the Glyph of Fire Nova.

Investing two talent points in Improved Fire Nova not only reduces the spell’s cooldown, it also increases its damage by 20%, stacking with a 15% increase from Call of Flame — for a total of 35% more damage.

Fir

What does all this mean? With the above-mentioned talents, plus Elemental Fury (a staple in any correctly-specced Enhancement Shaman’s talent tree), Enhancement Shaman can now stack Magma Totem (an immobile, weak AoE), with Fire Nova — a more powerful, mobile AoE.

The result is a dramatic improvement in single-target and AoE DPS, putting Enhancement back in line with the pure classes in terms of damage potential. Not only does it give the spec more utility, it’s also satisfying to literally burn down AoE packs with Magma ticks for 2k and Fire Nova crits for 5k — all at the same time, while we continue to melee and rake Chain Lightning across the mobs.

Is talenting — and glyphing — into Fire Nova worth it in Patch 3.3? And is the spell worth including in an Enhancement player’s DPS rotation?

The short answer to both questions is yes.

The long answer requires a disclaimer — always run simulations and tests on target dummies to find out for yourself how spells and talents benefit your own toon. The information in this post is based on simulations, target dummy tests and Recount analysis for a Trial of the Crusader/Grand Crusader-geared Enhancement Shaman with an in-game GearScore of 5127. Some readers of this blog will have higher GearScores, and some will have lower — as always, the best way to find out if a spell or talent is good for YOUR toon is to run the aforementioned tests by inputting your own statistics.

Enhancement: Patch 3.3 Maximum DPS Spec

18/53/0: This spec provides maximum DPS for Enhancement Shamans in Patch 3.3.

18/53/0: This spec provides maximum DPS for Enhancement Shamans in Patch 3.3.

This spec uses every talent point for damage increases, and spares nothing for luxuries like Improved Ghost Wolf. Since Icecrown Citadel is an indoor raid instance, the decision to drop auto-cast Ghost Wolf from a raiding spec is much easier to justify. You might miss it, but that’s what dual specs are for. This spec maxes out talents effecting Static Shock and Fire spells without sacrificing DPS potential elsewhere. For well-geared, raiding Enhancement Shaman, this is the way to go. (Note: This spec assumes your character is at beneficial Haste levels, or your raid is receiving additional Haste from Improved Icy Talons. Simulations will determine whether it’s more beneficial to your personal DPS to keep three points in Static Shock, or to move them over to Improved Windfury Totem.)

Enhancement: WotLK Classic Spec

Use this if you’re still rocking relevant set bonuses from old tier sets, but only temporarily — current gear is easier than ever to get, and any boost to abilities like Static Shock will undoubtedly be eclipsed by the DPS potential of Fire Nova.

Enhancement Shaman WotLK Classic (pre-Patch 3.3) Spec

WotLK Classic Spec: A pre-3.3 spec used by Enhancement Shamans.

Enhancement: Patch 3.3 Ghost Wolf Spec

If you absolutely must have your insta-cast Ghost Wolf, and your off-spec is not Enhancement, your best bet is to steal two points from Improved Shields. You’ll lose some DPS, but it won’t be catastrophic. If you raid in a guild of bleeding-edge min-maxers, this isn’t the spec for you.

Enhancement Shaman Patch 3.3: Ghost Wolf/Fire Nova Spec

The preferred choice of casuals and Warsong Gulch enthusiasts. Maybe.

Related posts from Stormstrike:

Patch 3.3: Enhancement Shaman rotations

Lord Marrowgar down! The fight, from a melee perspective

The Frozen Halls: Enhancement Shaman Gear

More than just Gear(Score): An interview with Gear Score’s developer

Here’s a round-up of Hunter Enhancement Shaman gear from Patch 3.3’s three new five-man dungeons collectively known as the Frozen Halls, as well as all the new Emblem of Frost gear we can put to good use.

Regular-mode items are iLevel 219, while heroic-mode items are iLevel 232. Items purchased with Emblems of Frost are iLevel 264. Many of the iLevel 232 gear is badly itemized — aside from lots of Armor Penetration, these pieces also feature fewer gem slots than their Trial of the Crusader equivalents, and in many cases they don’t have any gem slots.

That’s probably Blizzard’s way of placating those who go into hysterics when they feel their hard-earned gear is too easily replaced. But the gear from the three Frozen Halls wings isn’t for raiders — it’s for casuals and alts, so they can gear up quickly and join the fun in Icecrown Citadel. That said, many raiders have one or two odd pieces they haven’t replaced in a while, and there are some gems among these five-man loot drops that can fill in gaps while players compile their Icecrown wishlists. 


Forge of Souls:

[Accursed Crawling Cape]

[Eyes of Bewilderment]

Heroic:

[Nighttime]

[Essence of Suffering]

[Needle-Encrusted Scorpion]

[Seven-Fingered Claws]

Pit of Saron:

[Ring of Carnelian and Bone]

[Scabrous Zombie Leather Belt]

[Horns of the Spurned Val’kyr]

[Gondria’s Spectral Bracer]

Heroic:

[Spurned Val’kyr Shoulderguards]

[Barbed Ymirheim Choker]

[Belt of Rotted Fingernails]

[Band of Stained Souls]

[Seven-Fingered Claws]

Halls of Reflection:

[Muddied Boots of Brill]

[Frostsworn Bone Leggings]

[Hate-Forged Cleaver]

Heroic:

[Spiked Toestompers]

[Frostsworn Bone Chestpiece]

[Black Icicle]

[Hoarfrost Gauntlets]

Emblem of Frost Emblem of Frost:

Band of the Night Raven

Logsplitters

Longstrider’s Vest

Totem of the Avalanche

Herkuml War Token

Recovered Scarlet Onslaught Cape

Related posts from Stormstrike:

Enhancement Shamans in Patch 3.3: Should we respec?

Lord Marrowgar down! The fight, from a melee perspective

The Frozen Halls: Enhancement Shaman Gear

Fall of the Lich King Trailer: So how easy will it be to kill Arthas?

Thanks to MMO-Champion for posting a video of the new Shaman Tier 10 set. It’s something to look forward to as we wait for Patch 3.3 to drop on Tuesday. (Hopefully.)

The new Frost Witch’s Battlegear, as it’s been dubbed, has a sweet-looking shoulder animation which randomly displays a spectral projection on either side of the Shaman wearing the armor. I’m still not sure what it is — some sort of demented Lich-deer or something? Either way, it looks pretty cool.

Check out the video below. A wide view of the spectral shoulder animation is available at 0:37 (blink and you’ll miss it), while a close-up can be seen at about the one minute mark:

Thanks to MMO-Champion for datamining the Shaman Tier 10 set today. As many readers of this blog know, it’s been a long wait — from the first incremental previews of a few Tier 10 sets, to the near-complete galleries of recent days that showed every Tier 10 set except Shaman — and now we finally get to see our Patch 3.3 Tier set, albeit on a Human male model.

(As several of the comments on MMO-Champion note, “WTB previews on an Orc, Troll or Tauren model!”)

huge-sh

Shaman Tier 10 set courtesy of MMO-Champion

This was certainly unexpected, as earlier in the day MMO-Champion had a Tier set recap with everything but the Shaman set.

I’m not quite sure what to think of the new set yet. I’m pretty sure this set — like the others — will look significantly more bad-ass on a Tauren or Orc than it does on the thinner Human model used for the previews. There’s just something about the way shoulder pieces sit on those hulking models that makes them look more intimidating.

Second, the image gives us just an inkling of what the in-game animations might look like — will they simply be a blue glow, or will we see trails of blue-ish smoke similar to the effect seen on Pauldrons of the Devourer? One thing’s for sure — this is a departure from the mainly red-themed sets of recent Tiers that seemed so appropriate to Horde shaman.

Although the set seems to have been met with an enthusiastic reception on MMO-Champion, I’ll reserve my own judgment until I see the models in full, animated 3D.

From the department of missing tier sets, some news: We still haven’t seen a single screen shot of the new Shaman Tier 10 armor set from Icecrown Citadel, but thanks to MMO-Champion, now we know its name: Frost Witch’s (Garb/Regalia/Battlegear.

Going by previous naming conventions, we (Enhancement Shamans) will wear the Frost Witch’s Battlegear.

I was initially disappointed when I read the news, but on second consideration it might not be that bad. It depends on how you visualize the word witch. There’s the Wicked Witch of the West (lame), and the Wicked version of that same witch (also lame), and you’ve also got the Salem “witches” (not very fun), but then again there’s the Witch-King of Angmar. And he’s badass. So badass, Blizzard decided to lift the character pretty much wholesale and splice it into its own lore.

Besides the superficial and visual similarities, the backstory of the Witch-King is echoed in the backstory of the Lich King — both are former mortal men, both are former royalty, and both became corrupted by inanimate objects imbued with dark magic. If you want to take it even further, both of them like to retreat to angular-looking fortresses with towering black gates and spires when they’re not terrorizing the rest of the world.

And, yeah, as a player of Battle for Middle Earth II, I’d noticed this at the time:

witchking
wrath-of-the-lich-king
The ridiculous thing is, EA managed to nerf the Witch-King in very expansion that was named after him. In vanilla BFMEII, Mordor was laughably weak in the early game, but capable of an insane level of cheesiness in the mid- to late-game. I have many fond memories of leading Mountain Trolls and Nazgul, with the Witch-King at the forefront, against opponents in multiplayer.

But EA has such a disregard for its playerbase, that it’d rather devote all its developer resources into the next title than squash simple little bugs and cheat-permitting holes in an otherwise beautiful, memorable game. Seriously, BFMEII was the best multiplayer RTS since Age of Kings. But EA sucks, and Blizzard takes the longevity of its games seriously, which is why I’m playing World of Warcraft and not one of the EA shit festivals.

So, yes: Witches. Let’s hope for Angmar, and not the West.