Monday, March 31, 2008

Gem Inflation

At the recent guild crafting fair I found myself leveling Jewelcrafting up to 352, and wound up with bags full of green quality gems. The last time I did this, I had a hard time selling starter gems for more than 50-75s, but was pleasantly surprised to find those same green gems are now selling for 1-3g a pop.

My guess is that the recent influx of reputation PvP armor has spiked the gem market somewhat - but it remains to be seen if the trend continues. I certainly hope so, as JC'ing has been a bit of a chore without much return so far...

Also, don't forget tomorrow is a new month, so go pick up your free gems from the Consortium in Nagrand!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

2.4 First Impressions

After last night's Kara run I had a chance to run up to Quel'Danas (aka Sunwell Isle) and poke around a bit. Having never seen Blood Elf architecture firsthand before, it was really cool to experience fresh content and new quests.

Getting There
Alliance have a flight point at Ironforge which will get you there pretty quickly via a loading screen while in-flight. Unfortunately, flying back to IF does not seem to work the same way, where you hit all those flight points in Eastern Plaguelands, etc. on the way back. So use your hearthstone to get back if possible (until the Shat portal gets unlocked). Tip: if you log out mid-flight, you'll land at the next flight point along your original route.

The Isle
Aside from being graphically beautiful, the storytellers at Blizzard did a great job of making it feel like you've landed in a warzone and need to get to work right away. The place was still a zoo at 1am server time, lots of folks running around - some looking very lost, which added to the realism of the storyline. :) When I started out, the quest givers reported 39% progress, but 30 mins later they were at 41%, so no doubt by now phase 1 is close to being over. At this point the island basically has nothing available other than a flight point, quartermaster and quest givers. Over time more facilities will be unlocked.

Other highlights:

It looks like there are lots of new options for dailies, which is fantastic. I find the bombing run quest extremely annoying and the Simon Says one mind-numbing, so it's good to have other things to try. There are both PvP and PvE dailies, scattered over Shattrath and the new Isle.

Teleport to Caverns of Time
There's now a representative from the CoT in the lower city who can teleport you directly there. Genius! Now they just need one for Sunwell Isle, maybe that will come later?

Marks for Honor
A new repeatable quest allows you to turn in 1 of each BG mark (AB, AV, EOTS and WSG) for ~300 honor. This is all win, except for needing the EOTS ones. Bleh.

Black War Elekk
This thing is way hotter in-person (in-game?). After the Season 1 helm, the elekk may be my next PvP goal: only 30 marks each from AB, AV and WSG.

Reputation PvP Armor
I went around and collected all the Seer's Linked pieces but as I tried to mix/match them into my current set, I only found that the chest and legs integrated well in my setup. RatingBuster FTW. I mostly gem'ed up with strength and crit, and now feel like I've got a decent setup as far as a hybrid PvP/PvE set goes.

Last night in Kara we had too many melee DPS for (Iron) Maiden, so I was rotated out to help heal - I'll likely go buy a set of Seer's healer gear to help in those situations. It's nice to have the option of a premade gear set for trying out alternate specs! Now just have to Learn2Healz.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Patch 2.4 Notes

With patch 2.4 dropping today, I was going to start a post about Shaman-specific updates, but Matthew Rossi over at Wowinsider beat me to the punch with an excellent write-up.

Things We Like:
  • Ghost Wolf cast time down to 2 seconds, instant-cast if talented - handy for PvP or PvE grinding.
  • Totem global cooldown reduced to 1 second - great for instances/grouping.
  • Integrated Totem Timer icons in default UI - with individually dispellable totems! (begone, Searing Totem)
  • Toughness for PvP viability - not that I'll be re-spec'ing for PvP (I'm stubborn that way), but it's good to know this option is available.
  • Tremor Totem now ticks every 3 instead of 5 seconds.
  • PvP Reputation Armor
Things We Don't Like:
  • Shamanistic Rage nerf - now only 15 seconds of incoming damage reduction. Boo PvE nerfz.
Now just hoping my mods still work for tonight's Kara run!

UPDATE: looks like Omen has a 2.4 update, and DamageMeters is out, so going to try Recap tonight instead.

Monday, March 24, 2008


Finally, my first piece of Season 1 PvP armor: Gladiator's Linked Spaulders. Currently rocking +8 strength and +8 hit gems with the +26 AP inscription. Now doesn't that look better? :)

Next up, teh epix helm?

Also a shout-out to the awesome guildee who crafted Felfury Gauntlets for me. Woot!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Alterac Valley Tactics

As of Patch 2.3, it's well known that Enhancement Shaman suffer from efficacy issues in battlegrounds, but one of the reasons why I like AV is that it combines many PvE elements along with PvP, giving us Enhancers more to contribute. Here's my usual tactic:

Make a beeline for Galv along with the rest of the offense. Plop a Searing Totem and Tremor Totem and then go to work windfury'ing.

Afterwards mount up and head directly south for Frost Wolf Relief Hut. Along the way, check to see if Frost Wolf Graveyard has been capped. If not, assist by kiting the guards away from the flag so another can cap the flag - or, if alone - pop Earth Elemental totem and take out each mob from behind.

Continuing on to the RH, assist any ongoing battles. Then head up one (if not both) FW towers and down any archers (using Windwall Totem, the only application for this totem in the entire game as far as I can tell!).

Once the towers are secured and everything caps (reducing the number of elites standing with Drek), someone invariably yells, "all in!" My opening attack is an Earth Shock against one of the two wolves guarding Drek. This draws aggro and keeps the wolf off the tank (Shaman Off-tanking FTW!). Then take out the other wolf before going to work on Drek himself, who's usually well below 50% health by this point. Usually pop Heroism and Fire Elemental totem if available.

Notice the trend here? I help out in PvP where I can, but mostly go after PvE targets where Enhancement is already most effective.

General Tactics
Frost Shock and Earthbind Totems are your most effective tools when fighting close-in. Destory other Shaman totems - not all players understand how much of an edge totems can be and will often ignore them to their detriment.

Always go after PvP opponents before PvE mobs when trying to secure an objective. Move around like you've had too much Red Bull - rapidly circling your enemy does make it harder for them to target you, and in general just frustrates them.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Melee Rotations

Goeben from Chain Heal recently posted a comment about trying out Enhancement for grinding, so here are some melee rotation ideas for those looking to give dual-wielding pew-pew a go.

If you can pick a spot between a large number of mobs, you'll want to set up with a few totems, in this order of importance: Grace of Air (for crit), Strength of Earth (attack power), Searing Totem (extra DPS) and if needed, either Healing or Mana totems. For maximum mana efficiency, pull using rank 1 or 2 lightning bolts. Then the basic melee rotation then goes:
  • Stormstrike and auto-attack
  • wait for Shamanistic Focus, then Flame Shock
  • wait for another Focus
  • Stormstrike again if it's up
  • Earth Shock
  • repeat
Don't forget to use Shamanistic Rage when you're low on mana or are taking big hits, it restores mana on every hit and also reduces all forms of incoming damage. With some discipline and waiting for Focus procs, you should be relatively downtime-free as far as mana is concerned.

If you've pulled more than one mob, drop a Stoneclaw totem for a few seconds of crowd control, or Earth Elemental if you're in big trouble.

The rotation is pretty similar here, but with mana preservation being less of an issue in groups with managed pulls, the need to wait for Focus procs is eliminated - you just want to do maximum sustained DPS:
  • Stormstrike
  • Flame Shock
  • Earth Shock
  • repeat
Player vs. player is an entirely different animal, where your primary goal is to slow your opponent, then start melee. My typical PvP rotation is:
  • Frost Shock
  • Earth Bind totem (if there's time/appropriate)
  • Stormstrike (and thereafter anytime it's up)
  • Either Earth Shock for burst or Frost Shock again
Using a combination of Frost Shocks and Earth Bind, you should be able to keep them slowed and within range. My advice would also be to avoid going 1-on-1 against rogues, since you'll be lucky to get a shock off before being paralyzed into oblivion. :)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Windfury This!

After a bit of panic over extended server maintenance (and a forum post about an error in honor calculations), I logged-in to find my weekend honor grind had paid off... Exelus is now the proud pwner of (count 'em) two Gladiator's Cleavers!

For now I've just got Crusader on both, a relatively cheap enchant that procs +60 strength at level 70 - but the beauty is that it can stack-proc on both weapons for a total of 120 strength (240 attack power). That's all kinds of win, right there. The top enchants for Enhancement Shaman seem to be dual Mongoose, but I'm in no hurry at this point (it's a very expensive enchant).

As far as I can tell, I now have the highest DPS one-handed weapons attainable by solo efforts. Anything better requires Arena play or extensive Tier 5+ raiding, neither of which I'm likely to do anytime soon (nor do I have the desire). So for the moment, I can picture myself happily entering Northrend with these bad boys at my side. :)

Now, just gotta do something about those ridiculous green shoulders...

PvP Weekend

Given that it was Alterac Valley bonus honor weekend, it seemed like a good time to grind up some honor and marks for teh welfare epix. Unfortunately, I also needed 40 Eye of the Storm marks (20 for each 1-handed weapon) which turned out to be a completely demoralizing affair but is now thankfully over. Would you believe 2 wins, 35 losses?

Thank Elune for Alterac Valley, though. By the end of the bonus weekend I was having to dump excess AV marks for potions, and was surprised to find that the Stormpike Battle Charger could be had for only 50 marks! No reputation requirement, no gold, just marks!

Now I'm just waiting for Eonar to come back up to see if I have enough honor for my 2nd Gladiator's Cleaver. :)

Friday, March 14, 2008

Which Air

As Shaman, our biggest asset is our utility: the ability to make those around us better. One of the most important members of any party to buff is the main tank. As a simple rule of thumb, here are the three current types of tanks and which Air totem should be dropped to support them in typical 5-man instances:
  • Warriors: Windfury Totem for increased rage
  • Paladins: Wrath of Air for increased holy spell damage
  • Feral Druids: Grace of Air for increased crit and dodge
Things get less black & white when raiding, where you are likely to be grouped with other melee DPS (rogues, warriors, retadins, etc.). The rule of thumb here is, if you see a warrior of any kind in your group (or a swords rogue), Windfury wins. When grouped with dagger rogues, cat druids or hunters, Grace of Air would be appropriate.

Looking forward, it'll be interesting to see what happens when Death Knights arrive on the scene. Rumors have it that they will tank with a two-handed weapon, which (to me) implies some sort of magic-based armor - Wrath of Air might get the nod?

Current Gear

According to, I currently have a "blue" gear rating of 774, and so I thought I'd outline my current random mix of greens, blues and purples for posterity (and a good laugh once WOTLK comes out and we're all drooling over quest greens again).

Head - Stalker's Helmet of Second Sight - Quest
Neck - Talon Lord's Collar - Quest
Shoulders - Netherstorm Shoulderguards of the Soldier - AH
Back - Cloak of Impulsiveness - Old Hillsbrad
Chest - Breastplate of Rapid Striking - AH
Wrists - Stalker's War Bands - Karazhan
Hands - Handguards of Precision - Quest
Waist - Netherstorm Belt of the Soldier - AH
Legs - Scaled Greaves of Patience - Old Hillsbrad
Feet - Boots of Savagery - Guild Bank
Ring - Violet Signet - Quest
Ring - Acrobat's Mark of the Sha'tar - Quest
Trinket Ancient Draenei War Talisman - Quest
Trinket - Darkmoon Card: Crusade - Random Drops and AH
Main Hand - Reflex Blades - Arcatraz
Off Hand - Mag'hari Fury Brand - Quest
Totem - Stonebreaker's Totem - 20 Badges of Justice

Obviously room for improvement, most notably weapons, shoulders, waist and trinket. The weapons and shoulders should be fixable with PvP rewards, the waist from the Arcatraz key quest reward, and the trinket from running Black Morass a few times (Hourglass of the Unraveller).

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Efficiency FTW

In a span of 2.5 hours tonight, I managed to finish all three big daily quests and wound up with two epics! Today's daily dungeon and heroic dungeon both happened to be Steamvaults, which I've done in both modes before. Found a PUG and blew through pretty fast in spite of the hunter who refused to trap because "we're doing pretty well without CC."

OK. Hold on right there.

BigRedKitty would so disapprove. It's not a question of "doing pretty well," it's a matter of getting into good habits, honing your skills for when it really matters, and making things easier for everyone else in the party. Not trapping is like not using totems. L2trap.

So we tried to keep the group together and go back in Heroic, but we lost our tank (and trapless hunter thank god) and it seemed that all the tanks on Eonar went to bed early. So while doing mining loops, a call went out for melee DPS, heroic SV for "just the last boss." Felt a bit guilty about leaving my party, but I /whispered anyway.

"How's your damage?" they ask. I was feeling pretty cocky, having been #1 on the last boss meter in regular SV... "A few bosses into Kara," I replied. Pfft. (As if that means anything, I totally give all credit to my kickass guild for taking my charity-case-green-gear-wearing ass into Kara... twice.)

But it worked, I was in. :)

First attempt was great until 4%. Then blam, wipe. Hmm... woops forgot to pop Heroism. L2heroism. Ate some strength food and downed an agility pot, lest we forget Heroic bosses are basically like raid bosses, so every little bit helps.

After the 2nd (3rd?) water tank went down, we seemed to be "in rhythm" so I fire off Heroism and down goes Warlord Kalithresh in short order. Woot! One badge, a completed daily quest (for two more badges!), and Wave-Fury Vambraces in 20 minutes. Of course the bracers are offspec, but I banked 'em anyway, cuz ya never know. L2heal? Nah!

So after the quest turn-ins I find myself with 20 Badges of Justice, just enough to replace my wrong-spec Totem of the Plains with Stonebreaker's Totem!

As if this post isn't long enough, I capped off the night going 1W/1L in Alterac Valley (the daily PvP), with both matches lasting less than 15 minutes each. Roughly 1,600 honor plus 4 marks.

All in all, not a bad night. :)

Merely Honored

ZOMGWTFBBQ. It appears that the reputation requirements for the upcoming PvP rare armor sets (like Seer's Linked Battlegear for us Enhancement Shaman) have been reduced to merely Honored for all five pieces. Woot, I'm already there! /sighrelief

Now just have to wait until 2.4 actually comes out...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Thinkin' DPS

While I've been doing a lot of thinking around armor lately (mostly for aesthetic reasons), the reality is that Enhancement Shaman are all about DPS - so I also need to also be thinking about weapons. Especially considering that while raiding/instancing, I'm typically near full health, only taking the occasional AOE damage.

Currently I've got two blues (Reflex Blades and Mag'hari Fury Brand), both with Crusader enchants. Not terrible, but we're still only looking at a base DPS of 103. It's looking like the best available (and predictably attainable) options for me are the Season 1 weapons, either Gladiator's Cleaver or Pummeler. With two of those equipped, base DPS would be 136.2. (Even just one Gladiator MH plus the Fury Brand OH ups my base DPS to 122.5.)

Problem: 36,000 honor plus 40 EOTS marks for both. Ouch. I think I have about 7,000 honor and 7 EOTS marks, and it's been painful to even get that far. :)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Karazhan, Part Deux

Second time in Kara tonight, and this time I got to see the first part of the instance: Attumen & Midnight, then the (Iron) Maiden \m/, then Romulus & Julianne and finally an attempt on Nightbane! Went really well overall - prior to Nightbane only had one wipe on random trash, and the rest of the bosses went down fairly easily. Nighty was a whole different story, though. /readbossstrats

So remember when I was wondering what to do about my green bracers? Well guess what dropped tonight?! Stalker's War Bands. Second evar epic! Another nice Shaman-friendly piece also dropped: Beastmaster Pauldrons, but those went to our hunter, natch. Grats!

All in all a very fun night, with 9g in repairs (ouch, I'm coming to collect, Nightbane!) and 7 badges, now just three shy of being able to get that nice totem.

In PvP news, I continue to be disheartened by the continual "You can't do that right now." I swear I spend half my time on the battlefield dazed. Since I'm trying to get welfare epics and rares primarily for soloing and PvE, I don't want to blow 8k honor just for the entry-level movement-freeing trinket! Also am leaning towards the Gladiator's Linked Helm rather than the shoulders now, but we'll see how things shake out once I actually get 2.4 rare PvP bits and grind out the 8k more honor I need. GG.

P.S.: I did it, got Crusade. :)

Monday, March 3, 2008

Karazhan, Etc.

Not two seconds after logging in last night I got an invite to my first Karazhan run. Good timing FTW! It was "night two," so we started with Maiden, then did the Opera event (Wizard of Oz), then finally Curator. Only one wipe on Maiden thanks to an experienced group and a great raid leader who explained everything perfectly. No Shaman drops, but got six badges and am looking forward to possibly spending my first 20 on the Stonebreaker's Totem.

In other news, I'm now Revered with Keepers of Time which means when 2.4 drops I can also pick up the Seer's Linked Leggings for a total of 3 pieces. Also about 5k honor away from my first welfare Epic, the Gladiator's Linked Spaulders. Still need to figure out what to do with the two remaining "of the Soldier" greens: belt and bracers.

Finally, I'm seriously considering putting together a Deck of Blessings to get the epic Crusade trinket, it seems tailor-made for Enhancement Shaman. Only downside is that it'll likely cost me about 1,000g to finish the deck, but I'm in no hurry for the epic flyer, so why not? :)