Saturday, May 31, 2008

Ugly Stick

A rant post tonight... Exelus has been proudly sporting dual Gladiator Cleavers for quite some time now, after a long but well-worth-it honor grind. After getting these bad boys, DPS took a noticeable jump over the previous blue dungeon drops.

As is well-documented on this here blog, I've been trying to analyze my gear and the various stat weight balances in the goal of achieving better DPS. First goal at 70 was to get to 1100 AP and 20% crit. Check. Next goal was to get to 1300 AP and 25% crit. Check. Now I'm in the process of keeping 1300/25% while adding a bit of hit rating (100-120 should do, according to all the Mathcrafters). This goal should be achievable with drops from Karazhan, Zul'Aman and badge gear.

Now speaking of badge gear (and getting back to the original point of this post), it's time to re-examine weapon upgrades available to me. Unlike casters, armor with stats alone does not improve DPS (although certainly helps), the inherit damage of the weapons themselves has a significant role.

Since patch 2.4 it's looking like the best available (and attainable for me) weapons are Vanir's Right and Left Fists of Brutatility. Those stats are hot. Admittedly, I don't have the full math on this, but it seems like getting two of these could improve my DPS by maybe 10%?

Unfortunately, the weapons themselves look more like Day Glow Mardi Gras decorations than fearsome weapons. And that's putting it kindly. Why on earth did Blizzard make some of the best weapons in the game look so ridiculous? Does anyone think these actually look cool?


Still, seems like I should consider 'em. (only like 110 badges to go)


Sunday, May 25, 2008

Haelus Heals

One of the main reasons that I'm trying this re-roll experiment with another Shaman is to practice the caster-playstyle on the way up, rather than respec Exelus and have to noob it up at 70.

So today at level 22, Haelus entered the LFG channel and found a Deadmines group. We had all healing hybrid classes (two druids, a priest, a paladin and myself) - and I was designated main healer. I just thought it was funny that 1) the priest insisted on being DPS (which was fine by me) and 2) one of the druids was named a variation of the word "hots" (heal over time) but also insisted on being kitty DPS. Lolz.

The feral tank did a good job tanking, and I was lucky that both the ret paladin (shout-out to guildee Tyr!) and priest (bubbles ftw) have my back on several occasions. I did seem to pull aggro too often, which I'm sure had to do with my choice of healing spells and frequency of heals in general. I have to learn to start slow before dropping the big bomb heal - especially as a Resto Shaman (in-training): there's no aggro dump like Fade or protective measures like Power Word Shield available.

So afterwards I made this macro, hopefully it'll help in the future:

/say Healer is under attack!!! (might change that to a yell?)
/cast Stoneskin Totem (would Stoneclaw help pull mobs off me?)

There was also the issue of Mr. Hots running off in his own direction (often ahead of the tank), which forced me to split large heals between two folks, leaving my mana too low for comfort by the end of the fights. I burned through a lot of water in between pulls.

All in all though, a great experience, no wipes. (Just one accidental overpull which resulted in a dead tank and priest, but the rest of us made it to the ship's wheel - and within resurrection range, thankfully). Looking forward to healing other lowbie instances like Stockades, Scarlet Monastery, Shadowfang Keep, etc.

Also considering first taking Resto talents up through Healing Grace before returning to Elemental, as I think the 15% threat mitigation might come in handy if I heal a lot of instances on the way up.

Now off to read the Elitist Jerk's Resto Shaman megathread...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Kara Speed Run

Since we didn't quite have the right group make-up for another run on Zul'Aman, we decided instead to try a speed run thru Karazhan up to (and including) the Chess Event. 10 badges in three hours, not bad at all for ye olde casual guilde! and with no wipes!


Only 31 moar badges to go for Nyn'jah's Tabi Boots. :\

But tonight I was lucky to pick up the Mithril Chain of Heroism, and though the math is somewhat unclear to me, methinks it's a smidge better than my Shattered Sun Pendant of Might because I'm not yet exalted with Aldor. The 200 AP proc is what I think makes the SSO neck so much more superior (4th best in the game for Enhancement Shaman?)... but rep grinds give me the hives.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


When I first picked up WoW again last year (had a trial membership in '05, and you should see the n00bish talents I picked for my... night elf lolhunter), I used to think of raids as things "those other guys" did, and pretty much resigned myself to never getting to see even entry-level raids like Karazhan and Zul'Aman.

Welp here we is, nervously looking up at them gates. ZOMG is King Kong himself behind there?! /shiver

So last we finally took a romp inside Zul'Aman to see how we'd do, and am happy to report we dids quite well. Admittedly it was a little swervy - all the research and video-watchin' doesn't ever fully prepare you for the real thing. Or the virtually-real thing. Or something.

As most ZA initiates do, we went right towards Nalorakk the bear boss. There's a bit of trash along the way, but nothing too crazy. Taking down the healers with their totems is first priority, and the rest were easily handled by the traditional two-tank/spank routine. Still, the new-ness of it all was pretty exciting, and my gamer-drenaline was a-pumpin'.

So we clear to Nalorakk and downed him on the third try. Woot! He apparently hits VERY hard on the tanks - ouch. But it's a very Enhancement-friendly fight: pretty much just stayed planted on his behind the whole time, making sure to keep my totems up. During his random charges I tried running after him, but it seemed more efficient just stay put, sling a bolt or shock (or heal) and wait for him to come back to the tanks. Popped Heroism and Fire Elemental at two-thirds or so, the usual tactic.

Now here comes the big mistake of the night: I opted not to take Bladeangel's Money Belt off Nalorakk. Noobish of me not to have researched the drops ahead of time, but Rating Buster threw me off a bit when it reported such a huge loss in Strength and some other trivial stats - it looked like a crossgrade. What I failed to realize was that the Agility and Crit rating more than made up for this loss, and reports something like +20 DPS over my current PeeVeePee belt. /l2pve


Afterwards we went left towards the bird boss, Akil'zon. This encounter is prefaced by a gauntlet-style run up to his platform, pretty exciting but I liked the pace of it. It seems important to keep the group moving up the hill, so the clothies don't get ambushed from behind. The birds are a little annoying, but overall not a big deal.

We made it up to the big bad birdy and started a few attempts on him. The big issue here was making sure everyone bunches up for storm cloud, and then spreads back out again afterwards. Deadly Boss Mods is very helpful here. Again, a pretty Enhancement-friendly fight, the only trouble I had was when he flung me up in the air, it's a pretty hard landing when you come down. Have a pot or healthstone ready for immediate use upon landing. :)

During our 2-3 attempts we unfortunately had the gauntlet respawn behind us, and we just ran out of time so we had to call it a night, but I think we're all feeling pretty good about the progress and are looking forward to another crack at it (tomorrow?).


Hai Fire Guys!!1

Can't wait to get one of you as a totem... in like... 54 levels!

Ding 14

Lol. I love the early game in WoW, with your limited spells/abilities, awful gear and huge aggro radius. There's something very refreshing about the danger lurking around every tree, usually in the form of a big hungry level 12 bear. /run!

So as part of some goofy experiment, I went out and bought a level 11 white dagger and had it enchanted with Fiery Weapon. The choice of a regular weapon is intentional, because even with the enchant it's not soulbound, and can thus be transferred to other characters or sold. When it procs, it adds 40 damage (or 60 if it crits). Combined with Flametongue Weapon and Lightning Shield, I'm having little downtime between pulls, as usually I'm only casting two Lightning Bolts then a Flameshock before melee'ing.

In other news, Exelus went to Zul'Aman yesterday for the first time and participated in the downing of the first boss and a decent attempt at the 2nd boss. More on that later. :)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

WotLK Info Pouring Out

There seems to be a TON of spoiler infoz appearing on the interwebs now that Wrath is in official Alpha. I'm not going to link to anything because (as a technologist by trade), the whole concept of an NDA is pretty sacred to me. But still...

It's all looking pretty amazing - from new Shaman talents/mechanics to Death Knight toon pics to actual in-game videos of zones in development. Pretty fricken sweet. The hard part is just going to be keeping myself from spoiling it all by seeing too much in advance. :)

I have a minor bone to pick with a certain popular WoW info site, though: they say Blizzard asked them to take down leaked info posts (which they have), but then make a post linking to a site that has all the goods. Isn't that exactly the same as hosting the info yourself? (In principle?)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Meet Haelus

World (of Warcraft), meet Haelus - my latest WoW project. He's very young yet - still learning his way around Lightning Bolts and Rockbiter Weapon. Picked up Herbalism and Alchemy just 'cause.

As mentioned in my prior post, he's an Elemental Shaman with Resto aspirations, hence the name. The famous mispelling of "heal" ("hael meh!") combined with my ever-unimaginative "us" name-ending. :)

There's actually a funny story about my main Exelus and the whole "us" suffix, btw... but first a bit of backstory. Since starting WoW I've tended to name my characters things like Magus (obviously a Mage), Lockus (you guessed it, Warlock) and Ciribrus (StarCraft reference). So when I rolled Exelus I thought, "he's a Draenei Shaman... so maybe Shamus? No. Dranus? Cool."

That's right. Dranus.

I didn't realize until my mid-20s that I had made a grave error. I started getting tells in-game from teenagers, "cool name, doc. lol." Oy. I eventually reported myself and a sympathetic GM let me change the name. He became Ardus for a while, but when I moved him over to Eonar I combined one of my first characters names with the omnipresent "us" suffix: Exemel with a "us" ending = Exelus. Muuuch better.

So anyway, back to Haelus. Kek.

There's a few playstyle differences that I'm already becoming aware of... spamming ~3 lightning bolts before melee'ing the final 25% or so, using Stoneclaw as a means to keep a mob busy while I sling bolts, etc. Made myself a macro that starts auto-attack, since it's fairly obvious that LB will become a primary pull/attack - I wanted an automatic hunter-style (ezmode) switch between ranged and melee action:

#showTooltip Lightning Bolt
/cast Lightning Bolt

Teamed-up with some lowbies around the isle and practiced healing and aggro management, even down-ranked Healing Wave for practice and to get in the habit. Learning to watch the Quartz cast bar for optimizing LB casts. Making extensive use of Clique to fling heals while still targeting the mob. Lots of new techniques, but not so foreign that I feel like I'm starting completely over. :)

Could be a fun experiment, and look forward to reporting on his progress here!

Wut Next?

Exelus has settled into a rhythm of sorts: weekly-ish Karazhan runs (with our first peek into Zul'Aman tomorrow?), the occasional heroic/instance, etc. I completely burned-out on PvP getting the "welfare" axes and head/shoulders - and now that I canhaz epic flyer, I'm only really doing dailies to get back over the 1k gold mark again. Gear seems to be trickling in nicely via raiding and badges...

So... what's next?

I've got a stable of alts scattered all over the place - and knowing how healers and tanks are always in demand (both in-guild and in PUGland) - I feel like I should be working on either my Paladin, Druid or Priest (all in the 40's), but for some reason none of them are very compelling to me at the moment. I've got a mid-level hunter somewhere that's fun to play (lol ez-mode), but DPS is a dime-a-dozen. At least he's got CC. I also recently re-spec'ed Lazer Chicken on me Durid, which is kinda neat, but a ranged caster with weak CC is going to be questionable. (Although there's the option of going Feral Tank or Tree Healer later.)

I think what I'm really waiting for is the Death Knight - I've got a name reserved on a level 1 alt, and am thinkin' Night Elf for the race, if that becomes an option. (Gno Gnomish Gdeath Gnights Gplskthx)

Also been considering rolling another Shaman, trying-out Elemental for leveling with an eye on Resto later. But the last two times I rolled one, I thought, "why not just respec Exelus for a bit?" Then of course I never do. Perhaps this idea warrants further consideration - even though it feels weird to me having two of the same class.

Then there's always Cenarion Expedition grind for that Hippogryph... I've always pictured Exelus riding one. Cuz y'know, I'm all about the arrpee and stuff.


Saturday, May 17, 2008


Just as I was lamenting about the relative uselessness of Jewelcrafting, I find that one of the best trinkets for Enhancers is the Shadowsong Panther figurine. With today's unlocking of the epic gem vendor on the Isle, it was time to turn in some badges and get this lil' kitty crafted. (Actually ended up buying only one gem with badges and the other off the AH, saving 15 badges for a future purchase.)

So yup the stealth level boost is obviously useless (lolrogueitem), but at 80 AP and the on-use 320 AP it's kind of a no-brainer over the Ancient Draenei War Talisman (my last green). The lost crit will be easily recoverable once I replace one of my remaining three blues. I'm now officially over the 1300 AP mark un-buffed, with a still-respectable ~24.5% crit. The word on the street is that 1400 AP is the target for T5 raiding, so I'm more than happy to get just this far.

Funny thing when this item is used, a little panther pet comes out for the 15 second duration. :)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Sunwell Dailies: Enhancement Tactics

While doing your Shattered Sun Offensive dailies around the island and in Outland, you get to face a wide range of mobs that are best fought using varying tactics - so in the span of 40 minutes you'll get to employ almost every trick in your toolkit. Err totem sack. Err wha? Uhm yeah. Here's a breakdown of the tactics I use:

Mana Remnant Dudes
Run up in Ghost Wolf and fire off a Flame Shock as you approach, so when they start that nasty channeling spell your Earth Shock should be ready. Sometimes they come in pairs, so Stoneclaw totem helps keep the beating to a minimum. Also since they steal mana, I tend to use Shamanistic Rage to keep my mana topped off.

Rockem Sockem Robots
Just beat 'em down with a heavy DPS rotation.

Sunfury Archers
Open with a Flame Shock, run up and pew pew. Pretty straightforward.

Sunfury Knights
Open with a Flame Shock to quickly tag your mob, but hold off on the Earth Shock until they begin healing themselves.

Sunfury Warlocks
Drop a Grounding totem on approach, if you're lucky it'll swallow both spells by the imp and the 'lock. Usually a stormstrike takes care of the annoying imp, leaving my Earth Shock to interrupt the warlock's second spell. Dispel Magic to cleanse the armor off.

Demon Casters
Drop a Grounding totem on approach, use Earth Shock to interrupt subsequent Fireballs.

Other Demons
I tend to use Lightning Shield around these guys, as the winged ones like to do the stun/fire shower trick. This way they can beat themselves to death even while I'm incapacitated.

Naga Casters
Grounding Totem, Earth Shocks for interrupts and Dispel to clear their Frost Shields.

Naga Warriors
Heavy DPS rotation, sometimes with Lightning Shield and Shamanistic Rage since they hit fairly hard. Stormstrike, Flame Shock, Earth Shock. By the way, worst drop rate evar on those stupid keys. :\

Sunfury Reservists
Just like the Archers, usually open with Flame Shock and beat 'em down. Getting between boats is made much easier with Water Walking!

Now on to Outland...!

Fel Armament Orcs
Usually a mix of casters and melee, just employ the best-practice techniques here: Grounding totem/Earth Shock for casters, Flame Shock dots and mass DPS on the meleers. Dispel the Bloodlust effect. If you aggro one of the big elites, Ghost Wolf is very handy for running away.

Sunfury Attack Plans
Also a mix of casters and melee - you know what to do here.

Mana Cells
Those Mana Worms are extremely annoying, especially since you can't loot the mana cells while being beat on. Early on I used to get ninja'd a lot while busily defending myself. The trick is to drop Stoneclaw as you approach the cell - it should last long enough for one (maybe two) gathers of mana cells. Then you can worry about downing the worms. I use Lightning Shield and Searing totem here just to make the fights go faster.

I know there are other SSO dailies (Hellfire Peninsula, etc.), but I usually just do the rounds as shown above, seems to be fairly efficient time-wise and yields a ton of gold. Don't forget to vendor excess bandages - it's an easy 6g per stack!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

That New Leather Smell

Given all the DPS research and feedback I've been collecting recently, it was becoming clear that I needed to start looking beyond AP and crit for ways to improve damage output.

Raw stats are always good since they scale with Blessing of Kings (and we seem to have an abundance of Paladins around), but now that I've crossed the 1200 AP/25% crit range it's also time to stop neglecting +hit as much.

The biggest problem is gear itemization, especially when it comes to accessible gear for the casual player. I'm sure there's some megaphatlewtz in Mount Hyjal and Sunwell Plateau, but umm... I'm still LFG Kara, and intellect/mp5 does nothing for me. And I'm not a badge farmer either. PUG'ing 'roics gives me the hives.

So what kind of gear has hit rating and raw stats? Leather. Oh yeah baby, I said it. Mail armor isn't going to save my blue bacon in a heroic or raid anyway, so why not get back to my roots? For the past few weeks I've been monitoring both the Leather and Mail categories for good buys, and today a Shadowprowler's Chestguard showed up in the AH for relatively cheap.


So yes, this is definitely a kittydurid piece, but look at those raw stats when including the +6 All Stats enchant and three Bold Living Ruby's: 62(!) strength, 46 agility and 18 stamina - plus a bit of hit rating as well. Zomg now we're talking! (Also picked up a Cloak of the Craft for the additional hit rating and slapped-on the 12 agility 'chant.)

Took this new getup into Kara tonight, and while it's not completely scientific (mostly went up against Aran and Prince, so not so much trash), there did seem to be a pretty significant improvement in my DPS. Recount was showing ~625 DPS, up from ~550 on the previous report. Next time I get to participate in "night one" of a Karazhan run I'll update this post for more of an oranges-to-oranges comparison.

UPDATE 05/13: tonight we ran the first bit of Kara (up through Curator), and Recount showed an average of ~675 DPS, compared to my pre-leather average of ~550. Not bad!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Breaking: Death Knight Infoz

WowInsider has some news and details about the new Death Knight hero class in Wrath of the Lich King. 0.o

Can't wait!

Zoom zoom

With discipline and some incredible recent luck, I was able to pickup the reins to a Swift Red Griffon yesterday. :)

The discipline involved not buying some incredible pieces of gear off the AH (zomg Belt of the Black Eagle), and obsessively doing SSO dailies. Also in the last 24 hours, while doing these dailies, both a Blade of Wizardry and the formula for Cat's Swiftness dropped! They sold for a collective 1700g, so thankfully I'm not completely broke and can still happily spoil my alts.

Is the epic flyer worth it? The whole thing is pretty new, but wow this thing is faaast. It even runs at 100%, the same speed as an epic land mount - but a quick tap of the space bar and it accelerates to almost 3x that. Griffon races, anyone?

Next I need to research some good mining routes to take advantage of the new flight speed. :)

Thursday, May 8, 2008


Completely offtopic and has nothing to do with Shaman-ing and little to do with WoW, but it's mah blog and I can writes what I wants to but I've been reading Hunters of Dune and think that the DUNE universe would make a totally badass setting for an MMO.

Apparently I'm not alone. Also looks like one was attempted (Dune Generations), but the company shut down? Boo.

I can see me now: a level 49 Fremen armed with a Crysknife and Weirding Module. Awesome!

Getting back to the WoW connection: there's a giant worm in the Bone Wastes named Hai'Shulud, who's organs are the objective of a quest that rewards Shani's Crysknife. See? Blizzard hearts Dune!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Yo's Simulator

After a somewhat disappointing ~550 DPS report from last night's Kara run, I've decided it's time to do some OCD-style over-analysis of my raid DPS. If you've spent any time glancing at the Elitist Jerk's stuff on Enhancement Shaman, you'll no doubt have seen numerous mention of Yo's Simulator, which seems to be one of the best tools available.

Here's a quick breakdown of the tool, by tab:
  • Tracking headquarters - input your base stats like AP, crit, weapon info, etc.
  • Procs & stuff - weapon enchants, trinkets, totems, shock rotations
  • Buffs & debuffs - class-provided buffs on you, and debuffs on your target. At the bottom are three dropdowns for raid consumables, too.
When you're done inputting typical values for your raid makeup, go back to the first tab and hit the Theorycraft! button. Well lookie there: 543 DPS - pretty consistent with last night's Recount report.

Since I'm still saving for the epic flying mount and have gear accessibility issues (don't we all?), it's all about bang-for-buck. Let's look at a few upgrades I've been considering:

Dual Mongoose over my current dual Crusaders only improved DPS by 7. Same story with adding the Shadowsong Panther trinket or Hourglass of the Unraveller: 7 DPS. Meta gem Relentless Earthstorm Diamond yielded 10 DPS, but my current Enigmatic Skyfire Diamond wasn't listed, so it's likely less of an improvement.

Playing around Strength/AP (while keeping crit above 23%) seems to have much more DPS value. Furthermore, getting the ugly-as-sin fist weapons (Vanir's Right and Left Fist's of Brutality) for a mere 150 badges (gulp) seems to yield a 25-ish DPS improvement, but getting rid of my hard-fought dual Gladiator's Cleavers (36k honor, 40 EotS tokens) would be extremely disheartening - dunno if I can do it, honestly. :)

So in conclusion, better DPS seems to be all about the sum of all parts, there's no magic bullet in my case. But focusing more on raw base stats (Strength in particular) is probably the direction I should be headed, in addition to any "cheap" upgrades for accessory items (trinkets/gems/enchants) I can find.

Friday, May 2, 2008

New Blue Shoes

When I first started writing this post, it was a rant about the horrors of PUG'ing and how attitude is everything, this is just a game, lets just have fun, not call each other names, not D/C at the first sign of trouble, etc. But let's just say that last night's experience in heroic Steam Vault reaffirmed my gratefulness to have found a mature and fun guild to run with, as the world (of warcraft) is full of immaturity and offensive noobrosity, and there's enough of that to deal with in the (real) world.

So instead... I will focus on mah new shoes!

After SV, a group of guildees decided to run the daily regular: Arcatraz. Generally tore our way through and had fun along the way, good times. So after downing that first voidy boss, lookie what drops: Outland Striders! Normally I don't get this excited over blues, but having posted on several occasions about my months-old level 63 boots, I was stoked to see them. We discussed the boots and since both the hunter and I were interested, we rolled and I got lucky. :)

Here's the brilliant part: after applying Boar's Speed enchant (it was significantly cheaper than Cat's Swiftness), I was able to swap out my old meta gem for the Enigmatic Skyfire Diamond. Net result: my crit is now just over 24%. Sweet.

Now it's fairly certain that my measly little pile of badges will be spent towards epic gems for that Shadowsong Panther trinket rather than PvP boots. :)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Shattered Sun Offensive

Several days ago I managed to ding exalted with the Shattered Sun Offensive, and all I got was this stupid black t-shirt. Ok, not really. The SSO reputation items are really quite nice. :)

In addition to that fancy tabard, the biggest item of excitement for us Enhancement Shaman is the Shattered Sun Pendant of Might. Not bad for an epic necklace that only costs 23g and a few weeks of occasional dailies. Not even considering the proc, the stats alone were quite an upgrade over my former Natasha's Pack Collar.

The bummer about the proc is that it requires exalted status with either the Scryers or Aldor: "a chance to call on the power of the Arcane if you're exalted with the Scryers, or the Light if you're exalted with the Aldor." I have quite a ways to go, only about halfway into honored with Aldor yet. WTBmoarAldorRepPlsKthx.

I also picked up the Seeker's Gavel and Sunward Crest for offhealing duties, but mainly just because the shield looks so freakin' cool.

On the crafting front, having recently dinged 375 off several Stone of Blades, I was pretty excited to find the design for a Shadowsong Panther figurine available from the SSO quartermaster as well, but am awaiting the opening of the epic gem vendor to buy the two needed Shadowsong Amethysts. Yes, I know it's a lolrogue item, but you can't beat the 80 on-equip attack power and 320(!) on-use attack power (with only a 1.5 min cooldown). This should work quite nicely with my On-Use Macro of Pure Win(TM).

P.S.: Epic flyer fund: ~3500g and counting... slowly...
P.P.S.: Today's a new month, so don't forget to collect your free Consortium gems!