Maybe it’s me. Maybe it’s my Shaman.

So there Stormsoul is.  Taking part in an “All but the Lady V” clear of Serpentshrine Cavern in just over 3 hours last night.

Gearwise he’s pretty much in epics.  Three pieces of T4: gloves, helm, and leggings.  Three more pieces of that psuedo-T5 from the badges vendor: belt, boots, shoulders.  My epic bracers are from a Heroic, but the iLevel is only 110.  My last blue item is the DS3 chest armor.  I’ve got the best shield before Black Temple or Mount Hyjal.  I’ve pretty much got the best one-hander before BT and MH.  I’m nicely geared.

Seeing the damage meters last night, there were four broad groups of people.  And they pretty much stayed within range of each other, and otherwise distinct from the other bands.  Top Tier: Folks in some/all Tier 5 gear.  My Tier: T4 or so.  The Tanks.  And the Healers.  And we’re talking pretty large jumps in output for each band.

Now there’s Shamans above me, and below me.  The Enhancement Shamans are rocking the place.*  The Resto Shamans are doing their thing.  And then there’s me.  What do I have access to, as an Elemental, at this stage in the content?  There is no +Spell Damage mail armor.  None.  Not in SSC, not in TK.  There are no +Spell Damage weapons that a Shaman can use, and no +Spell Damage shield a Shaman could use.  I can get the T5 tokens now and otherwise badges gear by running Karazhan.  (Which folks don’t want to do except maybe gearing alts and new folks, new folks getting priority.)

But the Shamans above me and the Shamans below me have twice the gear options.  The Enhancement Shamans have all the +Attack Power Hunter gear that drops in SSC/TK to improve themselves with, in addition to their T5 pieces.  The Resto Shammys have all the +Healing gear that drops in SSC/TK in addition to their T5 pieces.  As an Elemental Shaman I have to compete with them for the T5 pieces, and they have access to other pieces.  That appears to be a distinct decision on Blizzards part.  And to that I ask “What the hell, Blizz.  Again???”

1-60 you went Enhancement to level up.  Blizzard admits that.  60-70 is also Enhancement, though you do have access to the DS3 gear, which is either +Spell Damage (Tidefury) or +Attack Power (Desolation).  There was also the +Spell Damage (psuedo-Earthfury) and +Healing (psuedo-Ten Storms) in the Normals and Heroics.  Ah, so Blizzard expects 60-70 to be open to any Shaman type.  There’s +Healing mail, +Attack Power mail (not just for hunters because they have their own too), *and* +Spell damage mail drops and quest rewards.

But once you hit Karazhan it’s either +Attack Power, +Healing, or the Tier gear.  Which means twice the opportunities to gear up an Enhancement Shaman and the Resto Shaman versus an Elemental Shaman.  That’s Karazhan, and now SSC/TK.  They get regular drops, and the Tier token drops to gear up with.  Elemental only get Tier token drops.

It’s wierd.  I’m actually banking +AP gear from SSC now for an Enhancement set.  I’ve probably got an all epics set for Enhancement now.  It’s just too wierd why the gear drops in this fashion.  It’s almost like Blizzard expects the end-content Shaman to be either Enhancement or Restoration.  Not Elemental.


*Too, there’s three kinds of mobs in SSC that really keep an Elemental Shaman from damage output.  One is the Damage Immune mob.  Half of the Hydross fight is against a nature resistant Boss and his adds.  Half of the fight I’m dropping flame shocks and magma totems.  My damage output on that fight is pretty bad.

Then there’s the silencing trash mob.  No matter how far back, I’m getting silenced, and the tremor totem is no cure for it.  Over and over.

Then there’s the spell reflecting mob.  Great.  The Naga is loaded up with so many dots I fail to notice the little one that looks like a moonfire dot with a counter on it.  Spell reflect.  (The guardians in Karazhan have this, but that’s just one of three modes they can be in, and there aren’t that many of them.)

How does this affect an Enhancement Shaman?  Really rather little.  How does this affect me?  Very much so.

I seriously hope The Eye in Tempest Keep isn’t more of the same.  Otherwise it’ll be “Goodbye Elemental spec, hello Enhancement spec.

I’ve got a question for you guys.  What’s it like for Shamans in your end-game raids?  What do you see as the “best spec for end-game?”


About Kinless

Gamer. Engineer. Lived lots of places.
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3 Responses to Maybe it’s me. Maybe it’s my Shaman.

  1. Brocker says:

    Heya Kinless,

    Though we don’t actually have any Elemental Shaman in our raid group, I did have one thought — although it’s sub-optimal, is it feasible to roll on boomkin and other DPS caster gear? Stat-wise it should give you what you need, even if the armor values are gimped. A DPS caster is a DPS caster.

    As for the magic-and-other-immune mobs, I feel your pain. When playing the Mage (Frost Mage, so I’m pretty sad on Hydross too), I watch for that little buff marker like a hawk, but it always appears perfectly timed with lag to ensure I nail myself with at least one spell. More, if I’m watching the cc too closely and don’t see the bounce-back in the hail of magic effects flying around.

    You’ll appreciate this: the other day, running heroic SV, someone mentions that the boss does magic immune buff, then melee immune buff. My Rogue partner complains “That’s not fair!”

    “Welcome to my world.”

  2. bhnz says:

    The scaling of an enhancement shaman (virtually all melee at endgame content) continues to just scale higher and higher, while more spell dmg gives you relatively marginal gains (comparatively low spell dmg coefficients vs mage/locks), not to mention the crappy itemization in t5 content (too much hit, or too much mp5 given the buff to watershield, clearcasting, mana spring and potting on cd). I’ve seen WWS reports of totem twisting enhancement shamans sustain 1700+ on tank & spank fights like Teron Gorefiend.

    My shaman is currently elemental until I can take it to our upcoming alt BT/Hyjal runs in 2.4 and probably spec resto. I’d say the badges gear and some of the PvP gear gemmed correctly is probably your best bet to get you through that content. We usually clear Kara in 2 hours and pick up an easy 23 badges. The 75 badge haste/crit/dmg chest is ridiculously good. There’s some really good gear for Elemental Shamans in ZA as well – pants, caster dagger, haste gear, etc. They might not always be mail though.

    I’d say putting you in a destruction lock / fire mage / spriest group and dropping tranquil air totem will probably contribute significantly to that party’s dps in that nuke classes will be able to seriously go all out, even if it reduces your dmg by around 100 dps. The cool thing about playing an elemental shaman is the ability to control use of wrath of air vs tranquil air by watching threat meters and paying attention to your party members TPS (threat per second) vs the tanks, and estimating intersection points, maximizing the use of either totem. Kinda like the train intersection math problems.

    When we did SSC, we usually split DPS and put melee on the spell reflecting mobs. It was always fun for casters vs melee to race down their targets. As far as TK is concerned, the trash mobs require pretty solid CC to not destroy the raid. The ability to drop grounding and earth shock is pretty huge, and as a hybrid class, that utility is extremely helpful. On Vashj, grounding totem spam trivializes a lot of phase3.

    On Archimonde, there is almost no such thing as too many shamans. Seriously. I’d take 5 if we could everytime we did that fight.

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