Posts Tagged ‘Enhancement Shaman’

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?

In this week’s Totem Talk, Rich Malloy points out using Shock and Awe’s priority system as a guide for our DPS rotation “is a net DPS loss for experienced Enhancement players.”

I’ll take it one step further and point out it’s a net loss for everybody.

Shaman priority system

Windfury: The ultimate priority.

We’ve had quite a few posts on this subject, and I’ve repeated it like a mantra — there is no DPS rotation. While the guys over at Elitist Jerks take math to the extremes (bless their hearts) and tweak on down to the fraction level, it’s been established since early in the expansion that the beautiful new synergy between melee and casting gave us a unique system that couldn’t be simplified in terms of macros or “rotations.”

Simply put, you can’t be lazy when playing this spec, and macros are only going to hurt your DPS contribution to your raid. While that’s fine for heroics and older tiers, DPS spots for current tiers are almost always competitive, especially at the 10-man level. In a 25-man there are always a few spots for people to get “carried” through content…but do you really want to be that guy?

For my own set-up, I use Shock-and-Awe for one thing: to flash a small bar bright red and give me an audio cue when Maelstrom Weapon reaches five stacks.

That’s really all the help I need for rotation-specific, real time information. I stick to the standard priority system otherwise, and DBM takes care of my other split-second information needs. Everything else is purely cosmetic, and my personal preference has always been a clean UI — I find clutter only increases my chances of missing something critical and letting the raid down.

If Enhancement players were the type of people who are bothered by having to do extra work, we wouldn’t have rolled Shamans. After all, easy as it is to forget, it wasn’t until a few months ago that we had to set up each individual totem on every pull. Hunters, Warlocks and Mages don’t have to do that, and they can open up as soon as the threat numbers look favorable.

Maybe we’re spoiled by the revamped totem system. Or maybe — and this is my suspicion — the awesomeness of the Enhancement spec in Wrath has lured in players who might otherwise have specced Elemental or Resto, or rolled a different class altogether.

But I try to look at it this way — the more control over DPS abilities we have, the bigger the upside if we work hard. And that’s a wonderful problem to have.

Related posts from Stormstrike:

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

Patch 3.3: Enhancement Shaman rotations

Who will benefit most from Cataclysm’s revamped Stamina system? Some say casters will dominate, others say healers stand to gain the most, but one poster put it best: “Anyone who’s not a Warrior, DK or Paladin.”

In other words, if your class doesn’t wear plate, you’ll see a marked improvement in Stamina balance. And that includes Enhancement Shamans.

Enhancement Shaman Stamina: Improved in Cataclysm?

Stamina Man runs, like Enhancement Shamans do when they see splash damage!

It’s still early, and many questions remain about the overall statistical rehaul, but Eyonix offered the most comprehensive information to date when he detailed the changes back in March.

And while Eyonix was quick to point out special considerations will be made for Balance Druids and Elemental Shamans, who often share gear with healers, curiously absent was any mention of Enhancement’s unique situation: It is the only melee spec in the game forced to share gear with a ranged class.

Along with Enhancement’s other itemization woes — which typically involve using gear made-to-order for Hunters — the melee-spec-with-ranged-gear problem has been a big one in this expansion. Every semi-serious Enhancement player has dealt with it: Some boss abilities, especially in heroic modes, can one-shot Enhancement Shamans, while leaving other melee still standing. This is a particularly frustrating issue for players because it has nothing to do with the much-discussed “skill” involved in raiding.

It’s simple math: If you have 30k raid-buffed HP, and the other melee have 10k more than you, you are going to die more easily and more frequently.

Not only does that effect player perception (a death is a death, and players of other classes aren’t thinking about our criminally low HP pools), it also creates some absurd situations: In my guild, there are ranged classes and healers who have higher unbuffed HP than my Tauren Shaman.

Blizzard hasn’t addressed those concerns in Wrath of the Lich King, let alone Cataclysm. It seems unfathomable that an entire expansion can pass by with such a glaring imbalance left intact, but it’s less surprising when you consider the dev team’s track record when it comes things like this — it’s been obvious for a very long time that class designers do not play the Enhancement spec.

So while there will be a complete rehaul of the stat system and Stamina balance in Cataclysm, there’s been nothing to suggest Enhancement won’t again share gear with Hunters. If that remains the case — and we should assume it will — what does that mean for Enhancement’s health pool relative to other melee classes? Will our joy at a more balanced Stamina system be tempered with disappointment because we’re, once again, limited by stat weights optimized for Hunters?

Stomstrike — and Enhancement players — will be watching Blizzard closely in the coming weeks and months.

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

Despite the holiday season, and a serious lack of will to raid — nevermind a serious lack of regular raiders — my guild is now 4/4 in Icecrown Citadel. We can all kick back with some eggnog with the satisfaction of knowing we’ll be ready when the next wing opens.

In the meantime, blogging has been light here at Stormstrike. You humble Tauren correspondent has relatives in his house, presents to wrap (we are procrastinators up in Thunder Bluff) and familial obligations to attend to.

But I leave you with this. Here’s to hoping you all get what you want for Christmas, whether it’s a Battered Hilt, a Frost Giant’s Cleaver, or a Frostmourne Replica (you nerds!). Merry Christmas!

FRAGILE -- Must be Italian.

In my guild, one guy got a Battered Hilt on patch night, and that’s been it. No more hilts for anyone so far, and most of us (me included) have never actually seen one drop.

As I wrote earlier in the week, my group called it on patch night after we’d spent almost an hour zoning in to Forge of Souls, another 20 minutes or so zoning into Pit of Saron, and even more time trying to zone in to Halls of Reflection. So I ran two dungeons and logged off because there simply wasn’t time to do a third, especially if it was going to take us up to an hour just to get in.

Apparently Blizzard slipped in a hotfix sometime after patch night that significantly nerfed drop rates for the Battered Hilt.

There are reports of Hilts dropping like soap in prison showers, netting great weapons for the folks who had inordinate amounts of free time on patch night. I’ve even heard — from some reliable sources — reports of patch-night runs that saw two or three Hilts drop per run.

We’re five days into Patch 3.3, and I’ve run the new five-mans a total of 12 times, so I’m probably on the extreme low-end compared to some players. Maybe the fact that I haven’t seen one drop is attributable to that.

Quel'delar

Quel'delar

But in quite a few QQ threads on this issue, players are saying they expect to see one Hilt drop per week. With a one-in-five chance of winning the role, that means it could take as many as five weeks to get a Hilt. Ouch.

The hotfix seems to have pissed off quite a few players. As one Paladin on the official forums puts it:

What bugs me is all the people that took advantage of this benefit while I was sitting outside the instance trying to get in and failing. And now I get the decreased chance of getting it. Blizzard screwed up and now they should keep the drop rate the same instead of making those that didn’t take advantage of Blizz’s screw up suffer.

But not to worry — Patch 3.3 just continues the fine tradition of rewarding people who have inhuman amounts of free time. So whether you’ve got the time to run four versions of a single raid each week, or dedicate a six-hour block to running five-mans on patch night, rest assured the rewards will be sweet!

“Certain types” of AoE are destroying Shaman totems thanks to a bug in Patch 3.3, and thankfully Ghostcrawler’s already acknowledged the problem. He says Blizzard’s coders are “deploying a hotfix soon” to fix it.

I’m glad this issue was raised quickly, and I’m glad that despite the larger problems in Patch 3.3, GC himself jumped on the totem problem and communicated with the playerbase. Although this effects all three specs, Enhancement can be particularly hard-hit because of melee-only splash AoE damage.

Here’s Ghostcrawler’s official statement:

There is a bug where certain kinds of AE can clobber totems. Specifically anything with a chain effect which includes say Cleave and obvious things like Chain Lightning and that spiffy Shadow Bolt in the Icecrown 5-player dungeon do too much damage to totems. Actual AE effects like Whirlwind are not affected by the bug.

We are deploying a hotfix soon to fix this.